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Organ donation can turn sad occasion into blessing



Published: Wed, May 1, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Organ donation can turn sad occasion into blessing

EDITOR:

I was pleased to see your in-depth article regarding organ donation. It is true that organ donation can be representative of the saddest and the happiest time in a person's life. Because of the recent death of my father, who was on the liver transplant list, I was compelled to offer some information that his physicians gave us.

On any given day, there are over 80,000 people in need of liver transplants. Only about 14,000 livers may become available for transplant. You do the math. Most people, when asked, would donate their organs. But, as stated in your article, the next of kin must give consent to donate. One would be surprised, if not outraged, at the number of people who refuse donation even when their loved ones carry a donor card.

Moreover, one must be aware of how small the window of opportunity is for transplantation. You have to be sick enough to receive the liver, but not too sick to withstand the procedure. If more people donated their organs, people would not have to be as sick as they need to be now to qualify for an organ.

Kidneys can be taken more easily and with greater success and frequency from live donors. Using living donors for liver transplants is not the treatment of choice and has many risks. I could not donate a portion of my liver to my father as he was too ill and I was not a suitable candidate.

I understand and respect those who choose not to be a donor for religious reasons. But for the rest of the people who do not think about it, or would rather be buried with all their own "stuff" think about this:

Imagine your son, daughter or spouse sleeping all day. Think about 10-12 bottles of medication on your counter, special diets to follow and special protocols to be aware of. In the case of liver failure you can experience hepatic encephalopathy; it's almost like a state of dementia because of the high levels of ammonia and toxins in the blood caused by liver failure. Profuse hemorrhagingcan result from liver disease -- usually in areas where the vessels are thinner like in the esophagus. You do not have to consume alcohol to have cirrhosis of the liver.

When your liver finally fails, the rest of your body cannot tolerate or compensate for the loss of the organ, and you have heart failure, respiratory failure and kidney failure. Finally, when the time comes, it is necessary to sedate the patient so they can pass in peace.

My father was only 62 years old when he passed away in January. Organ donation is selfless and giving. One person donating his or her organs can save and or affect so many. A lot of my friends and family have become donors after learning of my father's experience. I urge anyone to ask questions or research online. It is just the best thing a person could ever do.

CATHY JONES

Austintown

Under 50s should show respect for older drivers

EDITOR:

The Saturday edition of The Vindicator carried an article by Paul Campos titled & quot;Older drivers hazards on road. I am a Florida resident, and I have the Vindy sent to me there. I am also a home owner in Cortland where I also get home delivery of the Vindy. I am 70, and I too get frustrated with some older drivers.

What I see is a senior driver going at or slightly above the speed limit and many times being passed on a double yellow line by under-50 drivers.

Yes, we older drivers require some extra attention, but I have a strong feeling the under-50 drivers doing all the complaining are the same ones complaining about the seniors getting Social Security and stating that there will be nothing left for them.

ROY DONALD GOSS

Cortland




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