Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The mystery girl and organ donation

"If you want to be an organ donor, you need to tell the family members who would be responsible if you died"

By David Clemons The Sand Mountain Reporter

I didn’t recognize the number popping up on my cell phone, and I was in face-to-face conversation anyway, so I didn’t take the call.

The voice mail left behind, though, gave me concern. It was from a woman at the University of Nebraska who thought my number belonged to a woman who was listed as the grandmother of the person in question.

The caller said she needed to get in touch with the girl’s parents and hoped I could help.

I figured it was important, so I called the number back. I figured I might get a dean’s office or something like that at the university.

Instead, I was surprised to get the Nebraska Medical Center Organ Transplant Program.

Immediately, I thought the worst. The university must have been trying to reach the parents of this girl who died in some kind of car accident or something, and they needed to get permission to harvest her organs.

What a horrible telephone call that must be to get.

After leaving a message that the caller had a wrong number, I got a call back from the woman, who wanted to ensure that she’d tried the number she had in her files.

I knew it was none of my business, but I’m paid to ponder things that are none of my business. So I asked, “Is everything OK?”

Yes, I was told, it would be if they were able to get ahold of the girl’s mother.

I said a prayer for whatever the situation was.

I told the story to my wife, the lovely Carla, when she got home.

Carla looks at things a little better than I do. She said there was a chance the call was designed to tell the parents that an organ had come in for their daughter’s use.

I hadn’t thought about it that way, but I hope she was right.

The whole incident made me think about organ donation.

My driver’s license says I’d like to be an organ donor, but I know that’s not enough.

Once, for another paper, I wrote a story about organ donation. During an interview, a woman at the Alabama Organ Center said the driver’s license checkoff is nice, but it isn’t enough.

She asked, “Does your wife know your wishes?”

Actually, Carla and I had discussed that, but the AOC representative made a good point.

If you want to be an organ donor, you need to tell the family members who would be responsible if you died.

They need to know your wishes.

Organ donation allows people who need a second chance at life to receive it. It’s a wonderful way to do something good for a fellow human being.

In fact, 3,195 Alabama patients are on the waiting list for a transplant.

For more information, contact the Alabama Organ Center at 800-252-3677 or visit their web site.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network
For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

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