Facebook click can save lives

Barry Payten is a recent organ donor recipient.
Barry Payten is a recent organ donor recipient. John Gass

CONDONG musician Barry Payten was just two weeks from death in 2004 when he got the call from Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital he had been anxiously waiting 18 months for.

Within days of undergoing a liver transplant, Mr Payten had recovered much of the vigour that living with hepatitis A since his 20s had stolen from him.

"The transplant has given me such a new lease on life," he marvelled.

The English-born 63-year-old, who used to be a session musician for legendary acts like Fleetwood Mac, feels so good these days he's launched himself back into the music industry, which his illness forced him to leave behind.

He helps manage two local bands and still straps on a guitar a couple of times a year to tour with English soft rockers Status Quo.

The transplant has given him something else in common with his old mate David Crosby from Crosby Stills & Nash, who underwent his own liver trans- plant in 1994.

But the hand of fate can be so seemingly random.

On the day he spoke to The Northern Star, Mr Payten had attended the funeral of a friend who had also been on the transplant waiting list but for whom that call never came.

Mr Payten has welcomed a new Facebook tool that allows users to link to organ donor registries and share their donor status with friends.

"Without an organ donor, I wouldn't be here," he said.

The new feature, which went live in Australia on Thursday, sparked a big increase in organ donor registrations in the US and the United Kingdom when it was launched last week.

It is hoped it will do the same here.

To indicate you are a registered organ and tissue donor on your Facebook Timeline, click on "Life Event", select "Health and Wellness" and choose "organ donor".

If you have not registered on the Australian Organ Donor Register, make sure to click on the "sign up here with the appropriate registry" link to make your decision official.

As for Mr Payten, he's making the most of his second chance at life.

"Life is fun," he said.

Topics:  facebook health hospital organ donation

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