Today I noticed a question on a nursing forum asking how nurses feel about organ transplantation. The questioner wants to know if nurses would be donors and would they donate organs of family members if the decision fell to them.
For me, that is an easy question to answer. There is a young woman in my small town who received a heart transplant as an infant, due to hypoplastic heart syndrome. It has been a joy to watch her progress through the years. She was a darling child with a cloud of blonde curls whose mother dressed her to the nines—she always looked like a little doll. As she grew up she showed a talent for athletics and participated in national sports events specifically for transplant recipients. She is now attending college out of state and thriving.
One of the smartest, kindest and most mannerly men I know is alive today thanks to a heart transplant he had several years ago. He and his wife make annual trips abroad to visit their daughter’s family and revel in the fact that he can participate in all sorts of activities with their grandchildren. Not only is he alive but also extraordinarily full of pep.
Another dear friend is no longer tethered to a dialysis machine three days a week because a family agreed to donate the organs of their son following his death in an accident.
Yet another friend just received his second liver transplant. The first one was successful and performed well for several years before the need for the second transplant presented itself. Life is, once again, back to normal.
When I see these results and count the years of productive living the transplants have collectively added to the lives of my friends, how could I not be an organ donor? My driver’s license designates me as a donor. The same is true for my husband and daughter.
I have a neighbor who graduated from nursing school a year ago and works in an emergency department in a neighboring town. Last week, while walking past her house, I noticed an interesting bumper sticker on her car. It read, “Don’t take your organs to heaven. Heaven knows we need them here.” That says it very well, don’t you think?
So, nurses, how do you feel about donating your organs? Will you? If not, why not?