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Courtney Holland received a lobe of her mother’s
Holland is a happy 2-year-old who likes Barnie, Elmo and Barbie
videos. She is well known to many hospital staff, and few can resist
her big smile or her soft-spoken voice asking to go for a ride in
a toy taxi. She’s as talkative as any toddler, but as a patient
who’s needed a new liver since she was an infant, Courtney
also knows the words “IV” and “ouchie.”
Courtney has type-4 glycogen storage disease, which
caused her liver to fail and necessitated a life-saving liver transplant.
Fortunately, Courtney’s mother was able to donate a lobe of
her own liver to Courtney at a time when she was getting sicker
by the day. In Courtney’s case, receiving a portion of her
mother’s liver was successful, but many other children in
need of transplants wait for hearts, livers, lungs and other organs
and many don’t survive that wait.
The need for organs and tissues for transplant far exceeds
the availability, and that gap is growing. In the United States,
17 patients die waiting every day.
To address this need, April is designated as National
Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Month. Because hospital staff are
often the first to identify and refer potential organ donors to
the Organ Procurement Organization, they play an integral role in
the quest to ease the donor shortage. Staff can also provide a valuable
service by ensuring that the families of all potential donors are
given the opportunity to donate organs and tissues.
Anyone can become a potential organ and tissue donor
simply by making the commitment and sharing their decision with
loved ones. Informing next-of-kin is crucial to becoming a donor
even for people who carry signed donor cards.
For more information on organ and tissue donation call
the New England Organ Bank at (800) 446-6362 or visit www.neob.org.
There are many myths about organ
donation. Get the facts:
Myth: I don’t need to tell
my family about my wish to donate because I’ve signed a
donor card and put a sticker on my license.
Fact: Your family and next-of-kin
will be consulted before any organs or tissues are recovered,
and their wishes will be honored. Tell your family now if you
wish to donate.
Myth: If I donate, I won’t
be able to have an open-casket funeral.
Fact: Donated organs are removed
surgically. Careful attention is made so that an open casket and
funeral is still an option.
Myth: I’m much too old to
donate. The issue doesn’t apply to me.
Fact: Strict age limits for organ
and tissue donation no longer exist. Medical professionals would
be called upon to decide which of your organs and/or tissues would
be suitable for transplantation.