Saturday, May 13, 2006

On the News

With great disappointment, I saw this story on Channel 9. I looked at other local news outlets, and the only other one that carried the story (the I found), was the Star. Considering that they carry pretty much the same content, I wasn't too shocked.

I'm disappointed that Channel 9 ran this story without doing a little research on the matter of organ donation. Had they did their homework, they would have discovered the following things:

1. In the event of any death, medical staff is legally obligated to contact the transplant people. It doesn't matter if the death in question involves someone young, someone as old as dirt, full-blown AIDS, filled with cancer. Even if we, as medical professionals, know that there is no way on God's Green Earth that said patient is a candidate for transplant...WE HAVE TO CALL.

2. The family always has the right to say no. If they are absolute in their answer to not donate, no courts can override this choice and just arbitrarily procure organs without consent.

3. The doctors will treat any case aggressively, whether the patient is a candidate for organ donation or not. It's not a question of the medical community just wanting to keep the patient alive so they can have their organs...being aggressive with treatment is simply the right thing to do.

4. Doctors don't just throw around the words "brain dead". There are tests they can do to determine this sort of thing. I know this from firsthand experience when my own father passed away.

I understand the family is going through a difficult time, I can understand that the family is feeling desparate, clinging to every shred of hope...because 14 is far too young for a life to be cut short. But I also know the ins and outs of organ transplant and the people who work for them; enough to know that the mother is this 14 year old boy is gravely mistaken.

I know what it is to be approached. I know exactly what the family is thinking as they ponder this in their minds: the death of their loved one so that others may live. It's so easy to see a family member on a vent, breathing and heart beating, and have hope that they will make it, even though it's the machines keeping them that way, and nothing more. It's easy to become entrenched in bitterness because you are being asked to make, in what could be, one of the most daunting sacrifices that no person should have to make. It's also easy to see that when you are asking for a miracle, you don't see that the miracle is being asked of you.

I'm sure we will never know the outcome of this story, as once a news organization gets their sensational story, they seldom follow up on it unless it involves more drama. I cringe when I think of the reprecussions of something like this. Somewhere out there, someone will see this story, and make decisions based on false information. As a result, I will probably not watch Channel 9 anymore. I knew their journalistic integrity went to hell in a handbasket the first time they recapped a reality show on their channel...during the 10 o'clock news.

I just hope people out there will have enough sense to seek out the right information. With thousands of people waiting for second chances, many dying before it even happens, organ donation is something that everyone should become well informed about.

Share your life, share your decision.


Kathryn said...

Gee..I wonder how a mom from KCK manages to know more about administering a test to determine brain function than a dr with years of experience. She must be a genius. These kinds of stories make me MAD! You should write to Channel 9 and tell them to get their heads out of..well you know.


CODA-Organ Donation Charity said...

My Heart Transplant

My blog will take you through my personal experience of having a heart transplant. It will show the importance of organ donation. It will give guidance in case you or a loved one have to go through the transplant experience.

If the averages held, on the day I received my new heart 18 other people died somewhere in the U.S. because there wasn't a heart, kidney, liver or other organ available to save them. That makes me a very lucky guy.

I now have a chance to see my first two grandchildren this year. Both my daughter and my daughter-in-law are pregnant. Even more importantly my father, who has inoperable pancreatic cancer, has a chance to see his first two great granchildren before he dies.

What do you do when you have been blessed with a second chance in life? That's an individual decision for everyone. I decided to organize CODA. The aim is to provide financial help to the less fortunate for the cost of prescription drugs and medical costs. It also awards scholarships to young organ recipients to help them with school costs. It is a 501 (c)(3) charity so financial contributions are deductible according to state and federal law.

Organ recipients have to take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of their life. If they don't, they will die. Many people cannot afford the costs involved in a transplant. Through CODA I'm trying to help. You can visit our website at

Don't be intimidated by the "Make a Donation" button. It's not asking for you to donate an organ. It merely takes you to "Paypal" if you'd like to make a secure tax-deductible charitable contribution via the Internet. Thanks and I hope you enjoy reading about my personal experience.

Any day is a great day for a patient to receive a transplant, but to receive my heart on Valentine's Day, 2004 is very special to me and my family.