Twenty people have died in Brighton and Hove waiting for an organ transplant over the past ten years, NHS bosses said.
And 21 other people from Brighton and Hove are on the transplant waiting list at the moment, prompting a fresh plea for organ donors to come forward.
NHS Blood and Transplant revealed the number of deaths to mark Organ Donation Week which started yesterday (Monday 4 September) and runs until Sunday (10 December).
The special health authority urged people to tell their families that they would like to become donors.
It said: “Hundreds of life-saving transplants are being missed every year because families don’t know what their relative wanted.
“Left to make the decision for someone they love, families often decide it is safer to say no.
“The reluctance to talk about the issue is contributing to a deadly shortage of organs.
“In East Sussex there are currently 64 people waiting for a transplant.
“They will only receive that life-changing call if people make sure their families know they want to be a donor.”
The number of patients who died awaiting a transplant in East Sussex was 57, the health authority said.
NHS Blood and Transplant assistant director Anthony Clarkson said: “It’s a tragedy that people are dying unnecessarily every year in East Sussex waiting for transplants.
“We know that if everyone who supported donation talked about it and agreed to donate, most of those lives would be saved.
“This Organ Donation Week, tell your family you want to save lives.
“A few words now can make an extraordinary difference. It will also make things much easier for your family to make the right decision.
“If you want to save lives, don’t leave it too late to talk to your family.
“If you are unsure about donation, please ask yourselves as a family: what would you do if one of you needed a transplant? Would you accept a life-saving organ?
“If you’d take an organ, shouldn’t you be prepared to donate?”
NHS Blood and Transplant said that surveys showed that more than 80 per cent of people supported organ donation but only about 49 per cent of people had ever talked about it.
The health authority added: “Families who agree to donate say it helps with their grief and that they feel an enormous sense of pride at knowing their relative gave others the chance of a new beginning.”
To support Organ Donation Week, click here.
LIKE WHAT WE DO? HELP US TO DO MORE OF IT BY DONATING HERE.