Helen Aldersley - Liver Transplant Co-Ordinator
Each year our amazing transplant teams across the Trust save hundreds of lives across the North of England. St James's is one of only seven specialised centres that offer liver transplant services in the UK.
Helen Aldersley has been with the Trust for seven years and works as a Liver Transplant Co-Ordinator.
Our Transplant Co-ordinators work closely with patients who are in need of transplantation. They follow patients throughout their transplant journey, from referral for transplant assessment to the life-saving transplant itself.
"I really appreciate the opportunities I have had here at Leeds and enjoy the challenge of working within the transplant specialty" said Helen. "It is a real privilege to help patients and their loved ones through their difficult journey which hopefully - but not always - results in transplantation.
As the number of donor livers available exceeds demand for organs not everyone who is likely to benefit can be transplanted. The co-ordinator's role is to help determine who is likely to benefit the most, manage a patient's care and provide information for patients and families. A key role is to make sure that everyone involved is aware of the potential risks associated with transplant procedures.
"As a transplant co-ordinator, it is my responsibility to be on-call every one out of five nights. This means that if a donor liver becomes available in the middle of the night, we need to have a recipient available for surgery 10 to 11 hours later," said Helen.
"During the time between the phone call and the transplant, I have to alert the surgical, anaesthetic and blood transfusion teams, inform the selected patient and make arrangements for them to get to the hospital. We also review patients in the outpatient clinic to try to keep them as healthy as possible for when a donor organ becomes available. Unfortunately up to 20% of patients deteriorate and have to be removed from the waiting list before they can be transplanted."
Helen has recently completed her Masters degree in Advanced Practice, which means that she is now qualified to expand her role and become an Advanced Practitioner.
Outside of work, Helen likes to keep active and enjoys running with her husband and two golden retrievers, Reggie and Hector. She also enjoys taking part in triathlons.