In addition to Gabriele Gründl, Egbert Trowe now also represents patients on the RESIST internal advisory board:

Mr Trowe, you had a liver transplant in 2002 due to viral hepatitis. Since then, organ donation has been your topic and you are very active in numerous committees. In your opinion, what should be researched as a priority in this regard?

Work should be done to avoid reinfection and to make immunosuppressants more tolerable, so that there are fewer side effects. But above all, I would like to see progress in curing the diseases. Then organ transplants would no longer be necessary.

In addition to caring for patients waiting for an organ, you are particularly committed to the issue of organ donation. What is particularly important to you?

By saying “yes” to organ donation, you can help people. But I also understand very well if people speak out against it. It is important to me that people deal with the issue, decide for or against organ donation and record this in an organ donor card or a living will. In this way, one can avoid the relatives having to determine this if the worst comes to the worst.

In Germany, organs and tissue are only removed if the deceased person consented to organ donation during his or her lifetime. What do you think about this?

I am clearly in favour of the objection solution, whereby – if the deceased person has not expressly objected to organ donation during his or her lifetime – organs can be removed for transplantation. At the same time, it should still be possible for relatives to refuse the removal of organs if they cannot cope with it – this is how it is regulated in Spain, for example.
However, the solution to the objection is only one building block in the whole issue of organ donation. Another more important component is that there must be more binding procedures for organ removal in the clinics.

What do you think should change in this regard?

The removal of organs always takes place in an intensive care unit, and in the daily clinical routine there is often hardly any time for discussions with the relatives – which is why they often reject the removal of organs. I think that more space needs to be given to the topic there, which also means that both the relatives and the medical and nursing staff need psychological support. There is something wrong there.

How has your work changed as a result of the corona pandemic?

We have neither direct contact between us members nor with the patients. And the doctor-patient seminars only take place online. This has increased the number of participants, but personal communication has suffered. It is a particular pity that our educational work in schools is dormant. Unfortunately, the topic of organ donation is not yet integrated into the curriculum. Yet this would be so important, because social acceptance for this topic is still largely lacking.

Dear Mr Trowe, thank you very much for the interview.

Egbert Trowe is very active. He is an honorary …

– Member of the board of the Association of Liver Transplant Patients Germany e.V.
– Member of the Board of Trustees of the German Foundation for Organ Transplantation
– Member of the Board of Trustees and Foundation Council of the German Liver Foundation
– Topic-related patient representative in the Federal Joint Committee
– Member of the patient advisory board of the MHH Transplant Centre
– Member of the Hanover Admissions Committee of the KV Lower Saxony
– Member of the Lower Saxony Organ Donation Network

The photo shows Egbert Trowe