Posts Tagged ‘Organ Donation’

Friday Music: The Load Out

March 25, 2010

For Anthony, who got a new heart on March 26, 2009.
And for Paul Cardall.
And Euan Sharp.

Sung to the Tune of “The Load Out” by Jackson Browne.

Now the halls are all empty
Visiting hours ended long ago

All the patients have settled down
And she’s the first to come and last to leave
Looking for what can’t be found
Tonight the patients are alright
Waiting for their time
And she always tells them to never give up
And they’re so sweet–
But now she can hear the sound
Of a telephone loud and clear

And that’s the sound she loves to hear

Now call the Surgeon and wake up the flight team
Prep the gear and check it all again,

‘Cause when it comes to moving fast
You know you guys always win

But when everything’s been packed away
We’ve got one more call to make
So just make sure you are all set to roll
Before I let the family know.

Now the plane is on the way
And the patient is ready to go

We’ve got to fly all night
and save a heart in Chicago
or Detroit, I don’t know

We’ll go anywhere we need to go
And all hospitals just look the same
We just pass the time in the corner of the room
Trying not to get in the way

Till our turn comes and we receive the heart
And then we’re on our way home

Now we got extra ice and saline on the plane

We’ve got the surgeons on the telephone
We’ve got Air Traffic Control on the radio
We’ve got time to think about what we do

Carrying your life in our hands
And you’ve got time to be with the ones you love

While the miles just roll away
But the only thing that isn’t fair
Is we never get to see your face.

People you’ve got the power over what we do
You can sit there and wait
Or you can pull us through

So come along, pray us home
With your help we can’t go wrong
‘Cause when that morning sun cracks the sky
You’re going to wake up with a new lease on life
But we’ll be scheduled to appear
A thousand miles away from here…

New organ donation law moves donors to the head of the line

January 21, 2010

Israel has a new transplant law that is certain to raise some eyebrows: If you choose to donate your organs, you qualify for priority treatment if you should need an organ yourself.

You will not be catapulted in front of those critically ill patients who need an organ, nor will you step into a self-donation situation (If Fred decides to donate a kidney to Bill, for example, you can’t confiscate Fred’s kidney). But if an organ donor should happen to need an organ, they move to a spot (near) the head of the line.

This is an effort to increase the number of organ donors in Israel – 1 in 10 Israelis have signed their organ donor card. That’s low; in average, 1 in 4 Britons are donors.

Authorities is Great Britain would prefer a system that we have discussed before: Presumed Consent, or what I called the  “Opt-Out” system. Using a Presumed Consent donation system would greatly increase the number of organs available for donation without creating a class of people who qualify for special treatment based on their willingness to become an organ donor.

WANTED: Organs for Transplant

December 1, 2009

Florida Eliza coded last night, but they were able to get her back. She hanging on, and its becoming more and more obvious that this young lady needs her transplant to occur pretty soon.

“I can’t pray for a transplant, ” you may be thinking. “Because that means that I’m praying for someone to die!” Not true – go pick up today’s edition of the local newspaper. You’ll see a long list of the people who have recently passed away, so you aren’t “praying for someone to die” – that’s normal. It’s the final chapter in this amazing adventure of life. And hopefully, more than a handful are organ donors, and someone will have a nice heart and a strong lung that matches Florida Eliza.

Do you do your part to take care of the planet? Do you sort your trash out so that it can be recycled? Why not become an organ donor and recycle yourself? You can leave any or all of your useful organs, along with tissue samples – you’ll live forever, and save someone’s life in the process. Someone like Florida Eliza, perhaps.

Last week, I emailed Eliza and told her I was going to be at the CHD Forum in Tallahassee on February 13, and I was hopeful that she would be able to be there. She can’t do it on her own – so I’m asking you to give her all the good thoughts and best wishes that you can muster.


Road Rash

November 8, 2009

A 31 page .pdf report on the statistical relationship between motorcycle helmet laws and the availability of organs for donation.

Here’s the short version:

Q: What do you call a motorcycle rider who refuses to wear a helmet?

A: A future organ donor!

Don’t bury your heart

October 9, 2009

Here’s a Letter to the Editor published in the October 7 edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that you really need to read: My son waits, while hearts are buried.

Here’s an excerpt:

My son, Shannon Leach, is one of the 37 people in Georgia and 2,898 in the United States who is awaiting a heart transplant. Doctors at Emory University Hospital put him on the transplant list in February of this year after four hospital visits for heart failure…We are using every opportunity to let people know of the great need for donors and how easy it is to become one. People are dying every day just because there are perfectly good organs being buried in the ground!

It’s a powerful letter, please read it. And once you’ve read it, you can go over to Shannon’s page at the Georgia Transplant Portal or join his Facebook group.

But the most important thing you can do is to make the decision to be an Organ Donor. The Funky Heart is an Organ Donor… yes, they couldn’t use my heart, but I’ve got eyes, kidneys, blood vessels, and a lot of other organs in reasonably good shape. If you really want it, I’ll even let you have this hernia that keeps bugging me!

Not many people get the opportunity to be a hero. Here’s your chance – donate your organs!

No Anti-Rejection Drugs Needed!

July 27, 2009

Here’s an article from early 2008 about a young lady from Australia who underwent a liver transplant… and then was able to completely stop taking the anti-rejection medication!

Demi-Lee Brennan’s liver failed when she was nine. It was a close call, so close that doctors decided to roll the dice and transplant a new liver that did not exactly match her blood type. Demi-Lee is O-Negative, while the only available organ was O-Positive. Ten months later she had developed anemia and doctors were at a loss as to what to do. Tests showed that the liver’s stem cells were trying to overwhelm Demi-Lee’s bone marrow, the site where new blood cells are produced.

The stem cells from the new liver succeeded… within a few months, Demi-Lee’s blood had changed to O-Positive and she no longer needed the anti-rejection drugs! Described as a “one in a billion,” today Demi-Lee appears to be a happy, healthy, teenager with multicolored hair.

Scientists here in the US are working on ways to intentionally introduce stem cells to bone marrow to avoid transplanted organ rejection, but Demi-Lee is the only known case that happened spontaneously. However, this will not increase the number of organs available for transplant.

While stem cells show a lot of promise – everything from using adult stem cells to regenerate heart tissue (needs work) to building a new heart (needs a lot of work) it doesn’t hold a candle to a technique we’ve discussed before: mandatory organ donation.

In the United States and a few other countries, organ donation laws are Explicit Consent, or “Opt-In.” This means that you have to choose to become an organ donor. In countries with Presumed Consent laws (“Opt-Out”) it is assumed that your organs are available for transplant after your death. If you do not want to become an organ donor, then you have to fill out forms stating that desire. While it may raise eyebrows for the State to assume that you will donate your organs, the procedure to opt-out is almost as easy as becoming an organ donor in the US – usually just sign a form, and place a sticker on your Driver’s License or ID Card.

While it is unfamiliar and may be a little frightening, Opt-Out works a lot better than Opt-In. (Link is a .pdf file) Organ donation rates in countries with Presumed Consent are much higher. Much, much, higher.

A shortage of organs for transplant? Yes… in the United States. Perhaps we should seriously consider switching to Presumed Consent.

Think it through, America;

Mask and Cape not included!

June 15, 2009

Head Nurse has a great post on some of the technical details of organ donation. Read it. Contrary to popular belief, no one is  coming to get you, the docs won’t just let you go without a fight, and you can donate more than just your organs.

Not everyone gets a chance to be a hero. Here’s your opportunity.

Gracie’s Gift

March 31, 2009

Gracie’s back – her story has a happy ending, thankfully. It wasn’t that long ago that we were all pulling for her after we thought that a heart transplant had come through for her. But something went wrong; the donor heart never functioned correctly. And after fighting the good fight, her parents decided to let Gracie slip away rather than “live” hooked to monitors and machines.

Before she passed, the doctors and nurses spoke to Gracie’s parents about organ donation. Yes, Gracie’s heart was useless, but her other organs were functional and could help someone. Her parents agreed.

The doctors were able to remove her liver and both kidneys and had potential recipients for both. The liver transplant fell through, but the kidneys were accepted. According to Gracie’s website,

Gracie Jean’s kidneys were given to a 49-year old California woman. She has a 12-year-old son. She teaches at the YMCA. She has a brother she is very close to, as well as friends and family from whom she receives a lot of support. She attends a dance class 2-3 times a week; she swims and does stair walking for exercise. She is doing well with her recovery.

If you’ve never signed up for Organ Donation, please consider doing so. As you can see, even those of us with a Heart Defect can donate – our hearts may be bad and our circulatory systems may be screwed up, but if our other organs are functional there is no reason that they can’t be used. Even though Gracie’s gone, her kidneys allow a 12 year old boy to have more time with his mom.

Update: Received a twitter message about a young man named Sheperd, who is four days old and has a VSD and Coarctation of the Aorta. He’s in the University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill hospital, and surgeons are going to try to repair that hole and fix his Aorta in the morning. Keep this little one in your thoughts tonight!