Four Corners - A Gracious Gift
This is a story Australians think they know: the gift of a donated organ that transforms the life of someone with a devastating illness. What we see here for the first time is the extraordinary journey families undergo whose loved ones are dying in hospital from a sudden, unexpected event.
Two brave families allowed Four Corners to follow them through the hours leading to their loved ones' death. It's in that acute moment they face the hardest question: will they consent to organ donation to help someone else live?
The vast majority of Australians say they support organ donation. But confronted with the question at a time of crisis, almost half of all families refuse consent for their relatives to donate. Hundreds of children and adults on waiting lists miss out on the life saving gift.
For Sarah Ferguson this is a personal story. For almost three years she watched her friend and colleague ABC radio presenter Mark Colvin as his health deteriorated waiting for a donated kidney. The waiting time for transplants in Australia is long and Sarah wanted to understand what happens in hospitals when the question is asked, will you consent to organ donation?
The program follows others waiting for a precious donation: Anthony, whose life is dominated by dialysis and Kelly, the 26-year-old surf-life saver from Tasmania who is dying from end-stage liver disease.
Without exception all the people in the program want Australians not just to think about organ donation, but to have the conversation with their families so their wishes can become a reality.
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