Monday, November 13, 2006

Organ Donation

Are you an organ donor? Do you know how important organ donation is? I can tell you first hand what organ donation means. If there were enough organ donors, perhaps my dad would have gotten a liver and would still be here today. The technical cause of his death is a car crash, but the reason the car crashed in that one man accident was because of his failed liver, leading to a sudden death.

My dad was in a car accident in the 70's, leading to a necessary blood transfusion. In that era, there wasn't nearly the screening for blood donors as there is now. (Have you had intercourse with a monkey from Africa since 1977 anyone??) Unfortunately, he received blood that was infected with the Hepatitis C virus. Thankfully, he lived more than twenty years perfectly healthy and not knowing. However when he found out in 2000, it was a downhill health battle.

You have no idea how frustrating the liver transplant (I'm sure any organ) process is until you've lived it. Patients are given a score based on their overall health and ability to continue living without the liver, and placed on a list accordingly. You're only moved up on the list as your health declines. Often, patients are very near death before receiving a liver.

I remember one particular incident when my dad was at his doctor in Nashville. A lady was there with her husband, who was checked, and released to go home. She was crying, begging the doctors not to send him home with her because she knew he would die in the car on the way. It was that bad, and he was still being denied. However, this story does have a happy ending. He received a transplant that day. Only because he was that close to death. Unfortunately, I don't know how his transplant worked out and how he's doing now.

I just don't understand why people aren't organ donors. Are you afraid? Do you think you're going to need them wherever you're going? Do you know what happens to your organs if you don't donate them? During the embalming process, you're cut open near the navel and a trocar, a long metal tube attached to a suction hose, is inserted. All of your organs are punctured, and sucked out. Isn't that a pretty picture? So, why would anyone not donate their organs to help someone else live? They're of no use to you!

I know another little girl who needs a liver. Annika's mom knows a great deal about organ donation. She wrote a great post in response to a television program that alluded to misleading information about organ donation.

For more facts and myths about organ donation, visit Donate Life.

For more information about organ donation in your state, or to sign up online, visit Share Your Life.

Also visit Gift of Hope, an Interfaith organization honoring organ donation and transplantation.

Lastly, put this icon on your blog, webpage, or e-mail. Just right-click and save, then upload to the place of your choice.

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