Monday, April 23, 2012

Donate Life Month

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By Diane Forrest, RN

There was a cardiologist in my town named Dr. Mal Morgan.  Not only was he a great cardiologist, but a really funny man.  He collected ties, and must have had a million of them, the crazier the better.  He also belonged to the Rotary Club and was friends with my father.  He would call the doctor Mallicious Mal, or Malpractice Mal, and they would share the duties of auctioneer at the annual Rotary fund raiser auction.

Dr. Morgan developed a liver disorder and became very ill.  His liver would need to be replaced for him to live.  Even during that time he continued to joke about his condition.  One day, the long anticipated call came.  A liver had become available for transplant. He was rushed to the hospital and the transplant was a success.  The biggest problem he had was having the muchies.  He loved peanut m and m's, and his wife brought him a bag.  After eating a few he became quite ill.  He soon learned that the donor of the liver had allergies to peanuts, so he had to learn to do without his favorite treat.  This transplant allowed Dr. Morgan to live several more years, and save many lives.

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Organ transplants are a touchy subject.  Most donations occur from tragic events, and people who are making decisions during the most terrible of circumstances.  I like watching movies with Will Smith.  They are usually either funny or action packed.  A few years ago I saw his latest movie called Seven Pounds.  It was a drama about a man who was involved in a car accident that killed several people, and the tragedy and guilt he experienced consumed him.   He no longer wanted to live, but wanted to make retribution for the pain he had cause.  He began to research and found people who needed organ transplants, and made a list of those who were honorable that would benefit from his donations.

In real life, transplants don't work that way.  Donors are matched very carefully to determine the body does not reject the organ.

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April is Donate Life month.  During this month, consider the possibility of donating your useful organs when the time comes, and you no longer need them.  It is a simple procedure, and there will be a notation on your driver's licenses alerting hospitals and family of your decision. 

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To find out how you can become an organ donor, visit this site: 

If you want to think more about it, you might consider donating a pint of blood at your local hospital or blood services facility.

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