As part of National DonateLife Week, the state's only bone and tissue bank have announced it has expanded its services to the South West.
PlusLife is a Midland based not-for-profit which manages bone and tissue donations and has opened a bone retrieval program for patients undergoing hip replacement at St John of God Bunbury and Bunbury Regional Hospital.
Under the program, people can donate the ball part of their hip (the femoral head), which is processed into grafts and used for patients undergoing life-changing operations, such as spinal deformity in children and adolescents, complex joint surgery and treatments for patients with dental and facial bone loss.
PlusLife opened its services in Bunbury on June 8 and since that time have had four successful donations and two patients due to make donations this week.
The new service comes after a record 766 donors offered the gift of improved mobility and wellbeing to others, through generous donations of tissue to PlusLife last year.
PlusLife Operations Manager David Toner said the organisation had helped improve thousands of lives through generous donations of Australian tissue.
"Engaging more donors effectively means we can help improve more lives," Mr Toner said.
"Last year we received the largest number of donations in our 27-year history, up 18 per cent on the previous year.
"We are incredibly proud of this and obviously could not do the work we do without our generous donors. To each and every tissue donor, we thank you.
"We are thrilled to be able to provide south-west patients with a retrieval service so they can donate closer to home and have the opportunity to help make real benefits to the quality of life of others in the community."
St John of God Bunbury chief executive officer Jeffrey Williams said it was pleasing that South West residents could now be involved in the program.
"St John of God Bunbury Hospital is proud to be involved in the program that means, for the first time, people living in Bunbury and WA's south west can not only have their surgery close to home but can make a life-changing bone donation at the same time," he said
PlusLife manages two donor programs:
- Living patients having hip replacement surgery can donate the ball part of their hip, which is used commonly in a ground-up form for children with spinal deformities.
- And, like organ donation, bone, tendons and ligaments can be donated after death with consent from next-of-kin.
Surgeons interested in referring patients to the new south-west program can contact PlusLife on 6144 3500.
To register as a bone, tissue or organ donor, visit www.donorregister.gov.au or via Medicare online.