Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Organ Donation and Transplant News

Selected headlines

B.C. woman faces lung transplant dilemma

From CBC News:
A British Columbia (Canada) woman is facing an agonizing choice as she waits for the double lung transplant that could prolong her life.

Lori Dietz has to decide whether to stay in Maple Ridge, B.C. and wait for a donor or move to Ontario where the wait for a life-saving transplant might be shorter.

"We are running out of time so my doctors advised me to enlist in Toronto where transplants happen faster," said Dietz.

The Maple Ridge mother suffers from cystic fibrosis, a degenerative disease that attacks the lungs, eventually, forcing people like Dietz to be hooked up to an oxygen tank 24-hours a day.

"I spend most of my days in bed or sitting around," she said.

Doctors have told Dietz that if she doesn't have the operation, she may only have a year to live. It means that she cannot afford to stay in B.C., where she might have to wait up to three years for a donor.

In Ontario, by comparison, the wait could be as little as four months, said Ken Donohue, a spokesman for the British Columbia Transplant Society.

"Obviously they have a larger population base, different demographic, different mortality, than a place like British Columbia," Donohue said.

"So, the opportunity to do more transplants may be better in Ontario than it is in British Columbia," he said. Read the full story.

Living with CF: Woman waits for lung transplants

From The Enterprise in Massachusetts:
CARVER— The first thing 22-year-old Lindsay Briggs does every morning is detach her IV. Then, with an oxygen tube trailing behind her, she begins her day.

A physical therapist would come to her Carver home and rhythmically pound on Brigg's back and chest to clear her airway passages and clean out her lungs. Briggs must cough to aid the process.

Some days, Briggs will head out the door for a doctor's appointment. By the end of the day, she will take 25 pills. Twice a night, she will use a nebulizer to medicate her lungs.

This is a glimpse of Lindsay Rebecca Briggs' life, a life similar to that of the 30,000 Americans with cystic fibrosis, an inherited disease of the lungs and digestive system.

Briggs, who spent two weeks at Massachusetts General Hospital, was airlifted to the University of Pittsburgh Presbyterian Hospital in Pennsylvania earlier this month.

She remains in Pennsylvania, waiting for her name to come up on a transplant list for two new lower lung lobes that could give her a fresh start on life.

She is one of the 3,200 people in the country waiting for a lung transplant. She hopes to be one of the lucky ones to get one quickly.

About 900 lung transplants are performed each year in the United States. Read the full article.

Party with a purpose
Boca VIP group’s ‘soiree’ aids teen needing lung transplant

I'm posting the entire article here because it's another plea for financial help for a family in need. See the website. Merv.

From Boca Raton News in Florida:
At age 13, Brieanna Yowell has some admirable goals.

“I want to go to college at Florida State University, like three of my older sisters, and become an interior designer. Then, my dream is to get married and have a family of my own.”

Her sister, Beth, knows there’s an impediment that must be overcome if these dreams are to come true. Brieanna was born with cystic fibrosis, an inherited birth defect with no cure that makes breathing difficult and limits physical activity.

Brieanna, who lives in Coral Springs, is on the list for a double lung transplant. But medical bills are mounting as the family waits nervously, but patiently, for a donor.

The South Florida VIPs (Very Innovative Professionals) of Boca Raton took advantage of this very important football weekend to throw a “Super Bowl Soiree” Friday – with proceeds benefiting the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA). The event was held at Hooters Restaurant in Pompano Beach.

Nicole Flier, who co-founded the VIP group with Lori Ludwig, said she works with Beth Yowell and became aware of her little sister’s serious situation.

Normally, Flier said, the VIPs hold a monthly fundraiser for Kids in New Directions (KIND). But this month – with KIND’s permission – the VIPs raised money for Brieanna’s cause.

“In this situation, a person’s health is the issue,” said Flier. “We felt it was absolutely imperative that we do something.”

In the meantime, Flier said, the 13-year-old remains optimistic. Sister Beth said that “like many girls her age, Brieanna is a cheerleader, but she cannot always participate in the strenuous activities that other team members accept as routine.”

“Living with cystic fibrosis is pretty tough, with all the treatments, hospitalizations and medications and not being able to breathe normally,” said Brieanna. “Some people would just give up, but I never quit – because I have dreams and goals like other teenagers.”

“One of my goals,” she said, “is to be able to cheer again, because when I cheer, I forget about the pain and struggling I have to deal with in my life. I always feel like a different person when I cheer. Instead of the sick Brieanna, I feel like the strong Brieanna, who can stand up to anything.”

After years of treatments, in October 2007, Brieanna’s doctors recommended the double lung transplant, which will take place at Shands Children’s Hospital in Gainesville. Beth said the cost of the operation and post-op care is a half-million dollars. And insurance, she said, covers only a portion of it.

Flier said the money raised at Friday’s event will be given to COTA – and designated for Brieanna Yowell.

She said anyone who couldn’t attend and wants to make a contribution can visit Brieanna’s website.

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