I remember a family of a brain dead patient that I was involved with. I spent two days with them, helping them to understand brain death, making sure that they were getting the correct information from the hospital and giving them emotional support. I hadn't yet asked them about donation. Sometime during the second day I took the daughter aside and asked her what she thought and if she thought her dad would agree to it. They had been married 54 years. The daughter thought organ donation was a great idea. Finally, the time came to bring the family together and ask the patient's husband if he would donate her organs. He really wanted to, he said, but she had been through so many operations already, he couldn't put her through one more. He understood brain death, he knew she was gone, but he couldn't do it. Let someone else donate, he told me.
I've also listened to the pleas of a mom whose 11 year old daughter died waiting for a lung transplant. Why won't they say yes? she told an audience of transplant professionals.
When I first started this blog(a whole 8 posts ago), first I thought it would just be a way for me to blow off steam. My job's pretty stressful at times. At best, I thought a few other transplant coordinators might read it and chime in. Now I see that there's this whole, big blogosphere out there. I realize I need to be a little more responsible in what I write. Holy moly, I just found a link for Dr. Andy's Grand Rounds on Medscape. Yikes! And I remembered that to a lot of people, medical professionals and lay people alike, don't really know what goes into making transplants happen. I realize a few posts might sound callous. It's hard to get frustrated in the world of medicine and I'm a very impatient person to boot. So for the next couple of posts I think I'm going to write on just what it is I do and why it's so important to make donation happen.