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Donor and receiver can't take transplants casually



Published: Fri, September 20, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Donor and receiver can't take transplants casually

EDITOR:

I have been increasingly concerned about the news of the four organ transplant recipients who contracted the West Nile Virus from the donor. Years ago, it had been discovered that the AIDS virus could be contracted from a blood transfusion that carried the AIDS virus. Now, the blood is checked for the virus before it is given to someone in need.

Four years ago, I lost my husband to cancer. He had been listed as an organ donor on his driver's license. At some point during the last few weeks of his life, I asked his wonderfully caring oncology head nurse at Forum North Side Hospital, Marlene Mikan, if John could still be an organ donor. She said, only his eyes. If he had donated any of his organs, there would have been a very high probability that the organ would have been diseased, even his heart. It only takes ONE cancer cell to multiply.

I, myself, am a cancer survivor. When I went to have my driver's license renewed, I was asked if I wanted to be an organ donor. I used to say yes, but now I say no. I explained to the clerk why I had changed my mind about being a donor. She was completely unaware, as I was at one point.

How aware is the public? I only found out because my husband was dying from cancer, and I asked questions. We all need to ask more questions before giving and receiving blood or organs from strangers. If I hadn't asked questions about cancer patients being organ donors, I would have continued saying yes when asked if I wanted to be an organ donor. The recipients go through so much emotional turmoil just waiting for an organ.

Now, when the clerks at the BMV ask if you want to be an organ donor, they should add that if you've ever had cancer, you can only donate your eyes.

Oncologists should also discuss this information with their patients. It should begin there.

DIANN M. MOSES

Poland

Medical bills change the way retirees can live

EDITOR:

I am writing in behalf of all people who have lost or have no insurance. This can cause great problems, if you have a serious medical condition. I have Crohn's disease for which I must take 16 pills a day along with other pills. And I have had some small strokes and was rushed by ambulance twice to the hospital. You can- not afford this without insurance. You are treated badly and sent home; praying it doesn't happen again.

My husband has lost two mill jobs, one at Brier Hill and one at CSC Copperweld.

People should not have to give up everything that they have worked so hard for just to try to get much needed medical help. We, like I'm sure many of you, have gone to welfare only to hear we make too much. But yet we are giving up homes and everything of value. Does this seem fair?

I for one believe our government should do more for us people in the U.S.A., and less for prisoners and foreign countries. I do not believe you should have to choose between giving up all you have worked for or medical help. The good jobs with good money and benefits are hard to get. We have made the hard choice of giving up our home, made even more so because our youngest daughter and son-in-law and our grandson live next door. Our grandson will be 3 in March and runs over a lot. Our older daughter and son-in-law live close by also. So this is very hard to give up.

My husband like many of you has applied for jobs only to hear nothing. Being over 50, it gets even harder, especially when steel has been your whole life.

Where are our millions? I don't know about the rest of you, but we haven't seen it. My husband was getting a good pension which got cut in half. Sound like some of you? We need action not words and promises not kept. I for one am proud to be a steelworker's wife. They worked hard.

MELANIE McELHANEY

Youngstown




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