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Justin Berkhout's Father says hospital stuffed up son's desire to donate his organs

A loving father who committed suicide in the care of Wagga Base Hospital was denied his wish of becoming an organ donor due to what his father said was a monumental stuff-up by the hospital.

This astounding accusation against hospital staff comes from the heartbroken family of Justin Berkhout, who only laid their son to rest two weeks ago, and intensifies the family's lack of faith in the medical system which was reported in the Advertiser.

See news item previously reported on 13th August
Justin's father Adrian said
Justin was an organ donor, we all knew and understood he wanted to give everything he could.
Justin Berkhout, who had overdosed on prescription drugs on July 4, was in the emergency ward at Wagga Base Hospital when he hanged himself to near death.
His distraught family was keeping a bedside vigil praying for some brain activity when they were told there was no chance of recovery and were faced with the heartbreaking decision of turning off Justin's life support.
Mr Berkhout said
We made it quite clear he was going to be an organ donor. We were told some information and the staff said that they would make the necessary arrangements. Three days later, when we'd made the decision, they told us a retrieval team couldn't come down that night and could we wait until tomorrow? We'd all been suffering over this for so long, we weren't going to stuff Justin around anymore.

Why didn't they organise it when we told them three days before?
Lifelink - the organisation that co-ordinates pick up and delivery of organs, would not confirm or deny the allegations.
GSAHS director of clinical operations Dr Joe McGirr said
Hospital staff was required to follow strict protocols regarding organ donation and all procedures regarding the patient were followed appropriately. Wagga Base Hospital medical staff consulted extensively with the family about organ donation and the critical timeframes required for successful organ retrieval by a specialist surgical team from Sydney.

The Sydney retrieval team was available, however, the family made a final decision not to proceed with the organ donation.
A spokesperson from St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney said
Normal protocol was to dispatch a retrieval team immediately. There are police escorts from the airport to the hospital and back again - so basically they get a green corridor the whole way. When there are vital organs available, a jet is despatched immediately, and in the meantime a match is being done to see who is the best candidate.
An organ donation website says organs can only be used in very special circumstances.

There are currently 3000 adults and children waiting for a heart, kidney, lung, liver, pancreas or corneal transplant. Of those waiting for a heart, lung or liver transplant, 20 per cent will die before they receive one. As many as nine people can benefit from the organ and tissue donations of one person.

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