The Importance of Being Informed in Organ Donation: My Family’s Story
A friend posted about organ donation this morning and while I’m for it I believe you should be informed please take a moment and read about my family’s experience with organ donation.
When my daddy died they called me and asked I told them he’d been dead several hours and I couldn’t understand how any of his organs could possibly be viable. The man on the phone assured me that his organs were still viable and usable.
The man lied to me. My daddy was butchered up by someone who didn’t care about him or his dignity. The Undertaker did the best he could but they had taken so much of him that it was almost not possible to have an open casket and a lot of what was there was plastic sheeting to make it look better. They took all of his organs his eyes and a large portion of his skin and bone.
Many months later, I contacted the tissue donation agency and asked them if there were any letters of thanks. The woman said surely there had to be my dad’s donation had touched more than 100 lives! I was floored. How was that possible, one heart, two eyes, one liver, two lungs, ect? So I waited to hear from the people my daddy helped save. Nearly a year later (around 3 years after he’d died) I contacted them again and found that I had never received anything from them in the mail because there had been no letters of thanks. I was again floored. How do you not take the time to thank someone for donating their lungs to you when you’re on your deathbed or their eyes so that you can see…
The person who called me back explained that dad’s donations were all tissue. They used his skin for grafts, and bone material for hip replacements and the like. A little research proved that most of the people who received donations from my daddy had no idea that they received human “donated” tissues in their procedures. The quotes around “donated” are because they were charged for those things in their procedures. So while we donated those tissues they were not donated to the people who received them.
Where did the organs go that I was assured were viable? No one knows.
I was heartbroken to know that I let someone cut my daddy up like an old pair of jeans so they could sell his skin and bones. I NEVER would have agreed to it had I been properly educated and told the truth of what they were going to do.
I don’t regret that his skin and bones were used to help others, I want them to know my daddy was a good man who would have helped them out had he been given the opportunity. I want them to know who he was. Not just a blurb in some paperwork somewhere that says you may receive live tissue donations in your procedure. I was compelled to do something that not all of my family agreed with because of the lure of saving a life not so that he could be sold as used parts.
I tell you all of this not to discourage you from donating your organs. Given the chance, if my heart, lungs, kidneys, or some other working organ can give someone another week with their families and I’m not using it anymore I want it to go to them. What I don’t want is for my daughter to stand at my funeral and feel her hand sink into my chest because they took all my ribs. Or for the undertaker to need to position me in the casket a certain way because there wasn’t enough of me left to properly embalm and support a viewing. Be educated, stipulate what you’re comfortable with and inform those making decisions for you. I’m not sure about everywhere but here in Florida, they have to get the next of kin’s permission even if the person lists themselves as an organ donor.