Five people have received vital organ donations following the death of 20-year-old art student Shane Dineen, who passed away recently after suffering a bleed on the brain.
Shane, a student at Staffordshire University, was found unconscious at home by mum Vicky Scott and taken to Royal Stoke University Hospital where, in spite of their best efforts, doctors were unable to save him. The team at Royal Stoke worked against extra challenges created by the pandemic to facilitate donation and five people subsequently received Shane’s heart, lungs, liver and kidneys. A teenage girl and a 60-year-old man who had been on the waiting list for eight years were amongst the recipients.
Vicky, 48, of Bentilee, has spoken about her pride in Shane.
She said: “Shane was a really lovable, chatty, pleasant, hardworking boy. He had just done his first term at university where he was studying fine art and he was thoroughly enjoying it. He had lots of friends and as far as we knew he was fit and healthy.
“On Christmas Eve 2020 he started with a really bad headache. He was lying in bed, gripping his head and vomiting, so we phoned 999. He couldn’t even stand. He was assessed by paramedics and spent three days in bed.
“After this he recovered and seemed to be absolutely fine, until about two weeks’ later. One day I had finished work early, so Shane and I went food shopping. I remember he bought some presents for one of his best friends while we were there. Then we went home and he started with a headache again, so he took some paracetemol, but within 45 minutes he was vomiting. He went to bed and I kept going in and out to check on him. At one point he seemed to have fallen asleep, which I was glad about because I thought it’d make him feel better. I went into my bedroom and then heard a massive bang, so I rushed back in to him. He had fallen out of bed and was having a fit on the floor. I put my hand under his head to protect it and we called an ambulance. He was taken to hospital and straight to X-ray, where they found he’d suffered a bleed on the brain. They tried to drain it, but it just kept filling up and there was nothing they could do.
“Because of the nature of Shane’s death, I was approached about organ donation. It isn’t something we had discussed with Shane; with someone so young you don’t really talk about these things. So I had to decide what to do. One of our friends had lost their baby due to a failed liver transplant and I knew that Shane was someone who always wanted to help, so I decided to go ahead with it. The decision was actually pretty easy. Nothing was ever too much trouble for Shane and he’d always go out of his way for people. This is the last thing he could do to help and I believe it’s what he would have wanted.”
NHS Blood and Transplant have written to Shane’s family about the people whose lives have been changed thanks to the incredible gifts they received.
One of Shane’s kidneys was given to a man in his 60s who had been on the waiting list for eight years. The other kidney was given to a 30-year-old woman. A teenage girl was able to have a liver transplant, a 30-year-old man received Shane’s lungs and a 20-year-old man received Shane’s heart.
Vicky said: “It must be such a relief to all these people and their families. Now they can live a better life. We’re all grieving and trying to come to terms with what’s happened, but I’m just so pleased that we were able to do this. At least something good has come out of something truly awful . Shane has given these people the best gift they could possibly receive. He will be missed by lots of people.”
The team at Royal Stoke faced a number of challenges in arranging the donations.
Kirsty Lazenby, a specialist nurse for organ donation on the Midlands organ donation and transplantation services team, said: “This kind of situation is very delicate and calls for an enormous amount of tact at the best of times, but during a pandemic everything is even more complicated and Covid restrictions made it hard for us to have conversations with family due to limitations on visitors.
“Despite the adversities we faced, staff in A&E right through to Theatres managed to facilitate the donation and Shane went on to save the lives of five people, making an immeasurable difference to the their lives. It’s amazing that despite the restrictions in the hospital and the heartbreak they were feeling, his family were still able to think of others at this heartbreaking time.”
Staffordshire University have arranged for a memorial in Shane’s name and Stoke on Trent Sixth Form College have instigated an annual award in his honour.