One Down and One to Go

Yesterday Sarah underwent a six hour double lung transplant surgery after receiving lungs from an adult donor. Last week a Pennsylvania judge ruled that both Sarah Murnaghan and Javier Acosta who both at the time had advanced cystic fibrosis and maybe weeks to live should be eligible for adult lungs.

The judge’s ruling overturned an existing transplant policy that made children under twelve wait for pediatric lungs or be offered adult lungs only after adults on the waiting list had been considered because pediatric lungs are rarely donated.

I clearly don’t have the medical knowledge to know whether or not the judge’s ruling was ethical, but I can’t understand why there aren’t more organs being donated. While the loss of a loved one would be tragic especially if it was a child, why wouldn’t their loved ones want to give the extraordinary gift of life or extended life to someone else ?

I have been an organ donor for as long as I can remember. According to one website the donation of one organ can save as many as eight people and one tissue donor can enhance the lives of as many as fifty people. So if you are not an organ donor already why not become one and make sure that your family is aware of your wishes. Javier is still waiting on his lungs.

Following The Kidney Chain

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that there are wonderful people living in the world.  It’s great when you are reminded that the world is filled with decent, kind people who will help you if they possibly can.

Consider the story of the longest recorded organ donation chain, which just ended.  It began when a Good Samaritan from California named Rick Russamenti decided to donate one of his kidneys to help a stranger.  His kidney went to a New Jersey man whose family wanted to donate one of their kidneys but did not have an appropriate match — so a family member donated a kidney to go a stranger instead, and the chain began.  Thereafter, over four months and 11 states, the chain cross-crossed the United States, and 30 patients received kidneys from 30 living donors.  The chain ended only when the last kidney recipient had no family or friends who could make a donation.

It’s hard to think of many acts more selfless than donating a kidney to a stranger, because you never know when you might need that kidney yourself.  The fact that 30 people were willing to do so says something heart-warming about modern America.