Brian Stapleton: Three lives saved thanks to 'hero' grandfather's donated organs after sudden death

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Three people's lives have been saved thanks to a hero Sheffield grandfather whose organs were donated following his sudden death.

'Brilliant grandad' and keen football supporter Brian Stapleton, aged 69, went into cardiac arrest out of the blue at his home, despite seemingly being in good health.

But his decision to join the organ donor register years earlier meant he was able to grant a life-saving gift to three people in need, donating his liver, both kidneys, and the valves from his heart, as well as his corneas.

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Today - to mark Organ Donation Week, which runs until Sunday - his proud daughter Megan Healey said she was comforted by her dad's “incredible impact” on others.

Brian Stapleton's donated organs saved three livesBrian Stapleton's donated organs saved three lives
Brian Stapleton's donated organs saved three lives

“It’s comforting to see the incredible impact my dad’s decision to join the register has had on so many people and their families,” she said. “I would encourage anyone to consider signing up to the organ donation register if they can.”

Organ Donation Week takes place every year. This year the target is to encourage at least 25,000 people to register to become organ donors for the first time.

Retired NHS worker Brian suffered his fatal cardiac arrest a year ago next month, in October 2022.

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Daughter Megan, who herself has worked at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals for 20 years, 16 years of them as a Tissue Viability Nurse Specialist, said: “Dad had been suffering from chest pain the day before but had been doing some painting and thought it was because of that.

“He woke up that night thinking he had indigestion, but mum later realised he was in cardiac arrest.”

Brian’s wife, Josie, performed CPR until the ambulance arrived and were able to restart his heart. He was taken to A&E at the Northern General Hospital, but it was there he suffered another cardiac arrest.

He was rushed to intensive care but, despite expert treatment, Megan and Josie received the devastating news that due to the length of time Brian’s heart had stopped, he had suffered a hypoxic brain injury which he could not survive.

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“The team on the ITU were amazing and were so good at communicating what was happening with us but, as a nurse, I knew from the start what the prognosis would be,” said Megan.

“The team had started discussing organ donation with us and, given that dad had been registered as a donor since its inception and both he and Mum held donor cards, we knew his preference would be to donate.

“The consultant and organ donation nurse guided us through the process. They then sent out to see if he had any potential matches, which fortunately he did.”

Megan said the care they received from the hospital and organ donation team was 'so good'.

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“Mum and I were by dad’s side when he passed away and they made sure to play his favourite music whilst he was in theatre,” she recalled.

“I have twins who were only two years old at the time, so they gave us booklets for them to read to help explain to them about death, and gave them teddies to comfort them. They also had handprints taken from my dad for us to keep.”

To join the Organ Donation Register visit:

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