Thursday, November 29, 2012

"Breathing Lung" transplant performed at UCLA Medical Center

First U.S. breathing lung transplant performed in Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center

First there was the "heart in a box," a revolutionary experimental technology that allows donor hearts to be delivered to transplant recipients warm and beating rather than frozen in an ice cooler.  

Now that same technology is being used to deliver "breathing lungs." 

The lung transplant team at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical successfully performed the nation's first "breathing lung" transplant in mid-November. The patient, a 57-year-old who suffered from pulmonary fibrosis -- a disease in which the air sacs of the lungs are gradually replaced by scar tissue -- received two new lungs and is recuperating from the seven-hour surgery.  

The groundbreaking transplant involved an experimental organ-preservation device known as the Organ Care System (OCS), which keeps donor lungs functioning and "breathing" in a near-physiologic state outside the body during transport. The current standard involves transporting donor lungs in a non-functioning, non-breathing state inside an icebox.  

With the OCS, the lungs are removed from a donor's body and are placed in a high-tech OCS box, where they are immediately revived to a warm, breathing state and perfused with oxygen and a special solution supplemented with packed red-blood cells. The device also features monitors that display how the lungs are functioning during transport. 

"Organs were never meant to be frozen on ice," said Dr. Abbas Ardehali, a professor of cardiothoracic surgery and director of the heart and lung transplantation program at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. "Lungs are very sensitive and can easily be damaged during the donation process. The cold storage method does not allow for reconditioning of the lungs before transplantation, but this promising 'breathing lung' technology enables us to potentially improve the function of the donor lungs before they are placed in the recipient."  

UCLA is currently leading the U.S. arm of the international, multicenter phase 2 clinical INSPIRE study of the OCS, developed by medical device company TransMedics; Ardehali is the principal investigator for UCLA. The purpose of the trial is to compare donor lungs transported using the OCS technology with the standard icebox method. The INSPIRE trial is also underway at lung transplant centers in Europe, Australia and Canada and will enroll a total of 264 randomized patients. 

According to Ardehali, in addition to potentially improving donor-lung function, the technology could help transplant teams better assess donor lungs, since the organs can be tested in the device, over a longer period of time.

In addition, it could help expand the donor pool by allowing donor lungs to be safely transported across longer distances.

"For patients with end-stage lung disease, lung transplantation can dramatically improve the patient's symptoms and offer relief from severe shortness of breath," said Dr. David Ross, professor of medicine and medical director of UCLA's lung and heart-lung transplantation program and UCLA's pulmonary arterial hypertension and thromboendarterectomy program. "The 'breathing lung' technology could potentially make the transplantation process even better and improve the outcomes for patients suffering from lung disease."

The "breathing lung" device follows on the heels of TransMedics' "heart in a box" technology, which delivers donor hearts in a similar manner. The multi-center national study of the heart technology, also led by UCLA, is ongoing.

SOURCE University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Health Sciences

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Forty per cent of lung transplants come from smokers - UK report

Enough to make you gasp: Forty per cent of lung transplants come from smokers

Donor organs are in such shortage patients must accept smokers' lungs or risk dying if they can't find another match

Smokescreen: EastEnders Dot Branning
By Nigel Nelson
Four in 10 lungs used in transplants come from donors who smoked, the Sunday People can reveal.
But the organ shortage means patients have to accept them - or risk dying if no others become available.
It raises fears patients could end up with lungs from chain-smokers like EastEnders favourite Dot Branning, played by June Brown, 85 - who continue to puff away despite danger warnings on cigarette packs.
Soldier Corporal Matthew Millington, 31, died less than a year after being given the cancerous lungs of a donor who smoked up to 50 roll-ups a day.
Cpl Millington, of the Queen's Royal Lancers, had the double transplant at Papworth Hospital, Cambridge, in April 2007. Months later doctors found a tumour and he died in February 2008.
Cystic fibrosis sufferer Lyndsey Scott, 28, from Wigan, had a double transplant at Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester, in January 2009 and died from pneumonia a month later. Her family said they were not told that the organs were from a smoker of 30 years.
Health minister Earl Howe, who revealed 39 per cent of transplant lungs were from smokers, insisted patients were still better off accepting them. But he told the House of Lords:  "The transplant team should explain the risks."

Donor Card - Do More
Shortage: Donor organs in short supply
Since April, 1,859 people had a transplant. But there are still 7,603 on the waiting list and only 759 new donations in that time.
Specialist nurses take a smoking history from donors' families and the transplant team then decide whether the lung is suitable.
An NHS Blood and Transplant spokeswoman said: "Transplant candidates are offered the opportunity to decline them. But choosing to wait may mean a greater risk of dying before alternative lungs become available."
SMOKERS are less than half as likely to get a date, with "ashtray breath" cited as the biggest turnoff in a poll.
To join the NHS Organ Donor Register, call 0300 123 0000, text ORGAN to 64118.

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

As Americans celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend we are reminded that we have much to be thankful for, especially those of us who have been given a second chance at life by an organ transplant. We thank our donors, our donor families, our families and friends for their love, care and support and our health care providers who brought us through those difficult times in our lives.

A huge thanks to the men and women of our armed forces for keeping us out of harm's way

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Middle East Transplant Games December 14-15, 2012

International Organ Transplantation Experts To Gather In Abu Dhabi, Capital Of The UAE For The 13Th Congress Of The Middle East Society For Organ Transplantation (MESOT) (20 November 2012)

Under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairperson of General Women’s Union, Supreme President of the Family Development Foundation, and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood.

Abu Dhabi will host the 13th Congress of the Middle East Society for Organ Transplantation (MESOT) from the 12th to 15th of December 2012 at the Jumeirah Etihad Towers. This is the first time in the history of the congress that the medical symposium and Transplant Games will be held in the United Arab Emirates. This high profile event is expected to attract hundreds of experts in the field of Organ Transplantation from the region and the rest of the world and is under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairperson of General Women’s Union, Supreme President of the Family Development Foundation, and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood. 

The 13th MESOT Congress will feature a three-day scientific medical congress and two days of the Middle East Transplant Games. Organ donors and recipients will take part in the games with both men and women competing for Transplant Game medals. 

HE Saif Bader Al Qubaisi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Health Services Co. (SEHA) says: ‘SEHA is delighted to be the lead supporting organization for the congress. This leadership role highlights SEHA’s commitment to providing advanced quality health care to residents of the UAE. “SEHA is committed to delivering the highest standard of health services, protecting the population and providing advanced care and treatment, as well as educating the public on healthy living”. We continue to build links with regional health institutions and institutes that use globally recognized superior applications for healthcare delivery as per the directives of HH President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan.’

MESOT will kick off with an opening ceremony on the night of the 12th December and will be followed by three days of an intensive and exciting scientific program showcasing the latest knowledge and technical know-how on a large number of topics including Transplantation in MESOT Countries. Experts will share their knowledge on the challenges they are currently facing and will in the future. Some topics of discussion include initiatives to prevent organ failure, methods to improve organ transplant outcomes and success, the creation of systems of organ allocation and procurement, and the latest advancement in the transplantation of different organs such as kidney, liver, heart, lung, intestines and bone marrow. The congress will also feature sessions on stem cell research and its application in the treatment of organ failure, such as failure of the pancreas leading to diabetes. Additionally, pre-congress courses and workshops will provide hands on experience and improve the knowledge and skills of attendees in essential areas of transplantation, including Transplant Histopathology and Histocompatibility, Transplant Immunology and the preparation of patients for transplantation.

Mr. Carl Stanifer, CEO of SEHA, reinforced SEHA’s commitment to the medical congress as an opportunity for the clinical community to take advantage of the experience and skills that will help in the improvement and development of health services provided by SEHA for members of our society. 

HE Noura Al Suwaidi, Director General Women’s Union spoke on the issue: “Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Mother of the Emirates, is giving this conference her utmost attention and has kindly sponsored and embraced the principles and objectives it emphasizes. Treatment of organ failure by safe and ethical transplant has a high rate for successful outcomes. Recipients and donors can have a full recovery through rehabilitation and become active contributors in their communities. Families also have an opportunity to experience restoration of hope, as organ failure does not only affect the patient, but those who share in the personal struggles and triumphs of the journey to improved health.” 

One of the key supporters of the event is H.E. Lt (r) General Mohammed Hilal Al Kaabi, Chairman of the Armed Forces Officer’s Club. The Armed Forces Officers Club will provide full support to the symposium and host the sporting event at the Officers’ Club in Abu Dhabi. He comments, “This event supports the importance of sports and fitness in daily life and its role in the prevention of hospitalization and subsequent treatment of disease. A healthy lifestyle is the vision and mission of every sports institution.”

H.E. Mohamed Fadel Al Hamli, Secretary General of the Zayed Higher Organization for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs (ZHO) welcomed the news of the conference. “ZHO supports the theme of the congress and its principle message, which centers on finding optimal treatment for patients with organ failure, along with rehabilitation that enables recipients and donors to reintegrate into their communities with an opportunity to lead a completely normal life”.

Dr. Ali Abdulkareem Al Obaidli, Consultant Transplant Nephrologist, Chair of the National Organ Transplant Committee, Group Chief Clinical Affairs Officer at SEHA, as well as President of the Conference, announced that the conference will offer the opportunity to exchange experiences among participants and encourage the building of integrated medical services in the field of organ transplants between countries in the region, as is the case in Europe and North America. “This conference will provide an unparalleled opportunity for the exchange of information on scientific discoveries, present and future, and provide grounds for concerted efforts to develop ways to prevent organ failure and improve the results of organ donors and recipients alike. In addition, this conference is an opportunity for participants from countries around the region to be exposed to the UAE’s achievements and outstanding efforts in the field of health care”. 

Dr. Mohammad Hassan, Consultant Nephrologist at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, is also the Chairman of the Sports Committee of the Middle East Transplant Games. He is overseeing the 4th session of the Middle East Transplant Games (METG), which will be held in parallel with the conference. Participants in these games are both organ recipients and donors. They will compete in four different sports - running, swimming, table tennis and bowling. The Games will be held on 14th and 15th December and will be open to the public. For the first time in the history of these games in the Middle East, women have been invited to participate in the competition. The goal of the METG is to celebrate the physical fitness of those patients who have undergone organ transplants and their ability to participate and compete in these sports. It is hoped that the example of these people living healthy active lives will encourage the culture of donation and thereby increase donation rates, as well as promoting the full rehabilitation of the patients. These games are designed to prepare the participants to compete in the World Federation of Transplant Patients Games, which adopts the same principles.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Woman seeks financial help for surrogate pregnancy post lung transplant


Double-lung transplant recipient Sara Murray with daughter Sadie. Sara underwent a double-lung transplant in 2003 and became a mother to Sadie through a surrogate in April, 2009. She now seeks a second surrogate pregnancy and show that it is possible for a lung transplant recipient to have a normal family life.

I had the pleasure of meeting Sara Murray at the time of her transplant and was very impressed with the effort and dedication she gave to promoting organ and tissue donation awareness and fund raising for the hospital that performed her surgery. Friends of Sara's have asked me to promote her cause and I'm glad to help. Although I've been fundraising for transplant programs for years this cause is a first for me.

Read Sara's Story to learn more of her courageous life.

Sara Murray received a double lung transplant 9 years ago and became a mother of a little girl, Sadie, through the generosity of her sister who agreed to be a surrogate for the pregnancy. It is very risky for a lung transplant recipient to become pregnant and involves issues such as survival rates, rejection, complications of anti-rejection drugs, etc.

Now Sara wants to have a second child and show that it is possible for a lung transplant recipient to have a normal family. After years of searching Sara has found a surrogate but with surrogacy comes a large financial requirement. The parents are responsible for the fertility and medical costs of the surrogate, as well as the legal costs to make the child officially theirs. Please donate and bring a sibling home for Sadie!

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cornea transplants cure corneal blindness

Previously blind photographers share their world in new art exhibit

By Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank
Published: Monday, Nov. 12, 2012 - 10:52 am
/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pictures taken by once-blind cornea transplant recipients make up a new art exhibit that's scheduled to open November 16, 2012 in Denver. The Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank asked cornea transplant recipients to participate in its Circle of Light Photo Project by taking and submitting pictures of what they're grateful to see with restored vision. Many of the photos collected will be exhibited at Artwork Network, located at 878 Santa Fe Drive. They will remain on display through November 21. A free reception will be held on November 16 from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. Additional information is available at
This is the third annual Circle of Light Photo Project exhibit, which aims to show the impact eye, organ and tissue donation can have on our communities. The exhibit will also feature collaboration with the local community-based organization Art from Ashes. The organization seeks to empower at-risk youth through poetry therapy. Participants in the Rising Phoenix program at Art from Ashes created poems during an exercise that gave them the opportunity to experience simulated blindness. The poems inspired by the exercise will be on display alongside the exhibit's photographs. To learn more about Art from Ashes, visit
Cornea transplants are a cure for corneal blindness, which accounts for about 10 percent of all blindness. Each year, approximately 600 people in Colorado and Wyoming receive sight-restorative transplants. The Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank facilitates the donation and transplantation of more than 1,500 corneas each year from donors in Colorado and Wyoming. Since 1982, RMLEB has facilitated more than 40,000 transplants.
Contrary to popular belief, eye donors do not need good eyesight. Even donors who were legally blind are able to help someone else through donation and transplantation of their eye tissue.  Colorado and Wyoming residents can register to be eye, organ and tissue donors at the time of driver's license renewal or online at Registration forms will be available at the exhibit.
Cornea transplant recipients know better than anyone the impact eye, organ and tissue donation can have on the lives of others. Through this project, the recipients had a chance to give back, honor their donor and show the world just how big that impact is.
The Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank serves eye donors and their families and provides for sight-saving transplantation locally, nationally and worldwide. It is the recovery agency for donated eye tissue in Colorado and Wyoming.
SOURCE Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank
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Monday, November 12, 2012

Organ recipient "always had faith"

Organ recipient "always had faith". Double-lung transplant recipient Deanna Peacock is urging residents to their sign organ-donor cards. Peacock underwent a double-lung transplant in July after being diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis four years ago. Frank Matys
By Frank Matys 
ORILLIA, Ontario - 

To say that Deanna Peacock is breathing easier these days would be a massive understatement.

Diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis four years ago, the local woman underwent a double-lung transplant at Toronto General Hospital in late July.

No longer dependant on oxygen tanks for her survival, Peacock, 54, is enjoying a new lease on life.

“I always had faith that it would happen,” 

Peacock, a mother of three grown children, said of the surgery. “Ninety-nine per cent of the time I had faith. But you do get down sometimes.”

This critical operation would not, of course, been possible without an available organ. 

To that end, Peacock plans to advocate in whatever way she can for organ donation.

“One donor can save eight people’s lives,” she said during an interview at her Orillia home. “Don’t take your organs to heaven, heaven knows we need them here.” 
n the two years leading up to her operation, Peacock required oxygen fed from tanks to make up for her ever-diminishing lung capacity.

She was placed on the lung transplant list at Toronto General Hospital in September 2011, the beginning of a months-long journey that would see her anxiously awaiting the call, a beeper and cell phone at her side.
“Waiting is horrible,” she says. 

Helping her through the lengthy and challenging process was a faithful group of community supporters, among them Margot Crowder Davidson and Cam Davidson, and the congregation at St. Paul’s United Church.
“They were phenomenal,” she adds. 

By July of the following year, her lungs were increasingly failing, functioning at between 12 and 18 per cent capacity.

At one point, Peacock would be rushed by car to Toronto after learning a set of lungs had become available, only to discover soon after that the organ was not viable.

Then, on July 21, she received a second call.
“We have a set of lungs,” Peacock was told.

Again she was driven to hospital and, after a seven-hour wait and a battery of tests the news came that “the lungs were good.”

The surgery was completed early the following morning. 
For a recipient of a lung transplant, Peacock’s recovery has been remarkably speedy and complications were minimal.
“I am blessed,” she adds. 

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Friday, November 09, 2012

Pulmonary fibrosis remains largely under the radar

This article has special meaning for me because I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis 13 years ago and told I had about 2 years left to live and to get my affairs in order. After the initial blow of hearing this news I was very fortunate to get on a waiting list for a transplant and thanks to a generous donor and donor family I received a lung transplant 10 years ago. Treatment of IPF hasn't changed since that time.

MONTREAL - Retired Montreal police officer Jean-Yves Trudeau has already lost his sister to the disease that now threatens his own life.

Trudeau has idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis — a progressive and ultimately fatal lung disease with no known cause or cure.

“Will it be my turn next? I’m not going to cry in a corner over my lot. My philosophy is: ‘One day at a time,’ ” said Trudeau, 69. He speaks in measured tones to conserve his breath. Common daily tasks such as climbing a few steps or even walking to the mailbox make him stop to catch his breath.

Despite ambassadors such as Ottawa resident Hélène Campbell, a high-profile double-transplant recipient, the disease continues to fly largely under the radar. Campbell, 21, received a transplant in April after gaining huge public attention through a social-media campaign that picked up celebrity followers such as Justin Bieber and Ellen DeGeneres.

Trudeau consulted a lung specialist because his family doctor in Saint-Hyacinthe didn’t like the sound of his chronic coughing, recurring pneumonia and shortness of breath. His diagnosis, in the summer of 2010, came after months of testing that included lung imaging and a biopsy.

“It was like a blow the head,” Trudeau recalled this week at the lung testing lab at Notre-Dame Hospital of the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal, a tertiary referral centre. “My little sister (Carmen) was diagnosed the same week, but in a different hospital. In the end, she was on oxygen 24 hours a day” and she died in July, less than two years after diagnosis.

The condition affects adults mostly age 50 years older. It is a degenerative disease in which lung tissue becomes thick and scarred over time. The excessive scarring is called fibrosis and it worsens until most patients struggle to breathe; many need extra oxygen or lung transplants, and many die prematurely from the disease.

Some 30,000 Canadians suffer from some kind of pulmonary fibrosis, a family of diseases associated with about 140 known causes. Many of them are environmental hazards — for example, those who work in mines or with asbestos.

But the sub-group called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which is what Trudeau suffers from, is considered the worst, said pulmonary specialist Hélène Manganas of the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal.
Studies suggest that 5,000 to 9,000 Canadians suffer from IPF, with an estimated 3,000 deaths each year.
It is a horrible disease whose causes continue to stump researchers, Manganas said.

“IPF is extremely limiting with lower life expectancy than many forms of cancer,” Manganas added. “It’s an aggressive illness. The median survival rate is three to five years from diagnosis.”

According to statistics, the disease seems to be increasing independently of the aging of the population, she said.

Many sufferers are provided with home oxygen but, eventually, they need lung transplants to survive, she said.

“Unfortunately, not every patient is a good candidate for a lung transplant. Some are too old or have other medical problems,” she said, and then there are wait-lists. “Sometimes the condition progresses so quickly that we don’t have time to do a transplant.”

Current treatment is limited to teaching patients to breathe more efficiently, she said, but the field is exploding with researchers looking for new therapies to slow the disease and reduce inflammation. In the meantime, more education is needed, especially of community health workers who accompany such patients at home, she added.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

PBS airs Transplant Special

PBS Documentary 'Transplant: A Gift for Life' Explores Stories, Science Behind Transplants

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Transplant: A Gift for Life — a one-hour, Emmy Award-winning PBS documentary that includes Mayo Clinic transplant patients, their families, and doctors — will be distributed to public television stations nationwide this month. On Nov. 8, more than 60 PBS stations will air the program simultaneously through the PBS World channel, and many other PBS stations will air the program at various times (check local listings) over the next three years.
Every day, 19 Americans die while waiting for an organ transplant. In Transplant: A Gift for Life, TPT National Productions and Minneapolis filmmaker Dennis "Denny" Mahoney explore the stories and science behind organ donation and transplantation. The program includes the compelling stories of Mayo Clinic patients Charles Lewensten, who receives a portion of his daughter Amy (Lewensten) Konsewicz's liver; and Bob Koehs, a lung transplant recipient who reaches out to his deceased donor's family and unexpectedly helps them heal. With intimacy and honesty, this film tells moving stories of courage and love.
After his own liver transplant in 2008, Mahoney began working on the program, which quickly became his labor of love. He worked tirelessly on the documentary until his death from cancer last February. He was honored posthumously with a Midwest Regional Emmy Award for Best Topical Documentary in September.
The documentary profiles organ recipients and their donors, which include friends, family and strangers. Patients and specialists from the University of Minnesota are also featured. Read more information, or to watch the program online.
Mayo Clinic, with campuses in Minnesota, Arizona and Florida, has one of the nation's largest and most experienced transplant practices. More than 200 doctors in transplant medicine and surgery perform about 1,500 transplants a year.
More than 110,000 Americans and their families are awaiting lifesaving organ transplants. Read information about donation and how to sign up as a donor.
Transplant: A Gift for Life is a Dennis Mahoney Film produced in association with TPT National Productions. Major funding for Transplant: A Gift for Life is provided by the Carlson Family Foundation, the Curtis and Marjorie Nelson Family Foundation, Susan and Michael Kerr, Astellas, and The Persephone Fund of The Whitney Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Steven Wexler and Pamela Stewart, and Gus A. Chafoulias.
Source: Mayo Clinic

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Monday, November 05, 2012

Heart transplant recipient 30-year survivor

Scots heart transplant survivor meets surgeon 30 years after being told op would keep him alive five more years

JOHN McCAFFERTY, now 70, was told he'd live five more years after the transplant in 1982 and revealed he believed the other 25 years have "been a bonus".
John McCafferty is the longest surviving heart transplant patient

John McCafferty is the longest surviving heart transplant patient
BRITAIN'S longest surviving heart transplant patient will mark the 30th anniversary of his operation by being reunited with the surgeon who carried it out.
John McCafferty, 70, was given five years to live after the op in 1982, but defied the odds and is still healthy.
He said: “The five years they gave me came and went and became 30. I have had 25 years as a bonus.”
This week, he will be attending a presentation at Harefield Hospital in Middlesex.
He will be joined by his surgeon, Sir Magdi Yacoub, who established heart transplantation in the UK and became the world’s top transplant surgeon.

Heart surgeon Sir Magdi Yacoub
Heart surgeon Sir Magdi Yacoub

John, from Shotts in Lanarkshire, was 39 and general secretary of the Defence Police Federation when he was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart that causes it to become weakened and enlarged.

In 1991, John’s nephew, Steven Paterson, was diagnosed with the same condition and also had a transplant.
Now 35, he is also fit and healthy, and works as a radiographer at Hairmyres Hospital in Lanarkshire.
John was diagnosed after he complained of a racing heart. He was breathless and his weight shot up from 10 stone to 13 stone. Then, as he grew weaker, it plummeted to six stone.
John didn’t know it then, but doctors had given him only 10 days to live if he didn’t get a transplant.
He said: “I could barely breathe, I felt so bad and my eyes were sunken. I was told that I needed a heart transplant and it was a risk because so few had been carried out, but I would have tried anything.”
John, who had moved to England and now lives in Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, had his op in October 1982 at Harefield – one of only two transplant units in the country at the time.
He was the 41st person to have a transplant there but the rest have died.
His donor was a young man from Essex who had died in a motorcycle accident.
John said: “I think about the person who gave me the gift of life. I do think of him and I will always be grateful. I had the perfect donor, his heart was a perfect match.” He has chosen to never contact the donor’s family, feeling that they had already been through one bereavement and if he died, they would grieve that they had lost yet another part of their son.
John’s son Iain was only 14 when his dad went through the operation at Harefield Hospital.
Not only did John get to see him grow up but he also has a grandson, Oliver, who is now 16.
John says he has refused to live his life against a ticking clock and put any timeline out of his head.
“Everyone has to die and when that is, is out of my hands,” he said. “Every morning I wake up and think to myself, ‘I have survived another day’.”
John is sure that he has made the most of his life and feels he has done things he never would have, had he not had a transplant.
Previously, he had been a heavy smoker, had a hectic professional, family and social life, and was far from fit and healthy.
After the operation, he took up swimming, ran half marathons and even participated in the British and European Transplant Games.
Now John finds that the normal aches and pains that come with old age have put a stop to his athleticism.
Nephew Steven said his uncle was still an inspiration and that every year he lives is good news for them both.
He said: “My uncle has been a benchmark for me. To see him carry on is so encouraging for me.
“You never know with our condition how long you have, so for him to have reached 30 years is inspirational.”
Surgeon Professor Yacoub, 76, said John’s 30-year anniversary was “wonderful”.
He said: “When I carried out the operation, I could never have dreamed that we’d be having this conversation 30 years on. My concern was for John’s immediate future.
“He is in many ways a role model because he is living proof of how successful this procedure can be. He has led a healthy lifestyle and should be an example to us all.”

Friday, November 02, 2012

Hélène Campbell encourages use of social media

Hélène Campbell is a wonderful example of how just one person's initiative can have an impact on society. I've watched her progress since her first contacts with Justin Bieber and Ellen DeGeneres and the attention she generated for organ donation awareness.(I added the photo which is not part of this Globe and Mail story).


Transplant hope: Use social media to save lives

Thursday, November 01, 2012

A slur on all the miracle workers who perform organ transplantations

Posted by: Derryn Hinch | 31 October, 2012 - 4:16 PM 3AW693News Talk

Organ transplant. (Photo: Janie Barrett)
This is going to be a hard issue to talk about and a hard interview to conduct because I am more than emotionally involved in it. I feel very strongly about it and feel that even raising it may do more harm than good.
It concerns organ donations, and I am one of the lucky 1000 people in Australia whose life was saved by a donated organ last year.
The new debate is prompted by a new book, written by controversial bioethicist Nicholas Tonti-Filippini. The headline in today’s Age is enough to make an already sluggish and reluctant populace decline to join the register of organ donors.
It trumpets: “Brain-dead not necessarily dead, says ethicist.” And the intro: “Patients in intensive care are being declared brain dead for organ donation when they may still be legally alive.”
The author goes further. He writes: “People are being diagnosed as dead and their organs are being taken when, as a matter of faith, you’d say they were alive.”
It doesn’t matter that medical doctors, experts, say this is nonsense. The damage will have been done at a time when Australia has just dropped out of the top twenty nations for donors per million population.
The Australian New Zealand Intensive Care Society (ANZICS) says Tonti-Filippini is wrong and warn that he is putting at risk the lives of critically ill people awaiting organ donations to survive.
Professor Bill Silvester, a spokesman for ANZICS, said clinical testing, such as breathing, is the main way to determine death and says a recent World Health Organisation forum on brain death explicitly endorsed the Australian and New Zealand criteria as ‘an exemplar of rigour’.
Tonti-Filippini makes what I consider to be an outrageous claim. He says in his book: “They are diagnosing brain death while there is still some mid-brain function. They say ‘so what?” because the person is not conscious.’”
I defy him to prove that any transplant surgeon – or any surgeon in ICU – has ever been so dismissive of a patient’s life to say ‘so what?’
The ethicist also casts doubts about the point of death for religious people. He says: “It’s enormously significant to the Church because people are being diagnosed as dead and their organs are being taken when, as a matter of faith, you’d say they were alive.”
That is irresponsible and reckless twaddle. But he goes further and says most religious people understood death as the separation of body and soul and had accepted that occurred with the loss of brain function.
What’s he saying? That we should wait until we hear the flutter of bleeping angel’s wings before the start of organ removal.
There used to be a time when governments, hospitals and even the Vatican, decreed that a person wasn’t dead until their heart stopped beating. But more than 30 years ago that definition of death was changed.
What annoys me about this proposition being espoused by a non-medical ‘expert’ is that it depicts wonderful, life-saving, medical teams, as something akin to gravediggers, body-snatchers or even killers.
You ask anybody who has been so fortunate to receive an organ donation. Like me they would say if there were any doubt that something unethical, or illegal, or even immoral, had preceded that gift of life they could not have accepted it.
Bob Jones, this is a slur on you and all the miracle workers, the medical staff at places like the Austin and the Royal Children’s. It is disgraceful.

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