The 17th AGM of the RVH Liver Support group was held in the Sir Samuel Irwin Lecture Theatre on Thursday 16th April. Guest speaker was Professor Nigel Heaton, Director of Transplant Surgery at King’s College Hospital. 60 members and friends of the group were present.
The formal business came first. The minute of the 2014 AGM and the accounts for the year 2014-15 were approved. In his Chairman’s Report Donald Cairnduff reflected on a pleasing year’s work, which included a successful first Love Your Liver Campaign in Northern Ireland, registration with the Charity Commission, rebranding to better emphasise the group’s work across Northern Ireland, increased income from fundraising and continued promotion of the organ donor register. Of particular note were a significant rise in patient care support payments and the setting up of a Helpdesk in Outpatients, which had been opened earlier in the day by the Group’s founder, Kay Duffy.
The full report can be found on this site under ‘From the Chairman’
Dr. Cash conducted the meeting while the committee stood down. It was re-elected en bloc to serve for 2015 -16: Donald Cairnduff (Chairman); Sharon Millen (Vice Chair); Gordon Cave (President); Kay Duffy (Founder); Eileen Hearst (Secretary); Tom McCready (Treasurer); Jennifer Cairnduff; Seamus Cunningham; Rachel Quinney-Mee; and Anya Toner.
Professor Heaton then delivered a fascinating account of the history of liver transplantation in the U.K., current developments and his vision of its future. Of particular concern to hepatologists at present was the increasing number of young women with liver disease and the mental health and well being of transplant recipients. Some pleasing outcomes for surgeons were a reduction in the average time of operations (now 3.4 hours); the routine use of split livers, and an increase in the number of living donors, some of whom had come forward as altruistic donors.
He felt that the treatment and recovery of transplant patients needed a new vocabulary that didn’t use unsettling terms like patient, disease and transplant. And he looked forward to the day, possibly after his retirement, when a surgeon could design an organ on a 3-D printer last thing at night and print it off first thing in the morning before going into theatre.