Thursday, June 13, 2013

Organ Donation In Children

If you've been following the news at all lately (which I rarely do because it's usually depressing), you may have noticed a story about a ten year old girl, Sarah, with cystic fibrosis who's in need of a double lung transplant. Thankfully, yesterday Sarah received her double lung transplant and it has been reported that the surgery was very successful!

This story has raised a lot of awareness for CF and organ donation, especially organ donation in children, which is what I want to touch on today. But first, here's a little bit about Sarah's story. Because Sarah is only ten years old, she is only eligible for donor lungs from a child, which really decreased her chances of getting lungs -- children need to be at least 12 years old to receive adult organs. Just last week Sarah had to be placed in a medically induced coma because of her failing health. Her parents fought in court for a temporary restraining order to be lifted so that Sarah could also be eligible for adult lungs. Thankfully, last week that restraining order was granted! And here a week later, Sarah received adult lungs! I read that they did have to modify the lungs to fit her chest, but otherwise the operation is said to be successful. Sarah has a long road to recovery ahead of her and is not cured from her CF, but this is an extension of her life and what a wonderful gift for her and her family!

After reading this quick story this morning, the last line really caught my attention and got me thinking, "They said pediatric lungs are rarely donated." I'll admit, this is not something I think about, and I could be that many of you don't either. When I think about organ donation, I've always thought about it with adults and never children, but the reality is that there are children out there, like Sarah, who are in desperate need of donor organs, too. It's difficult for people to think about organ donation sometimes because it unfortunately means that someone must lose their life to be able to give someone else the gift of life. It's even more difficult when those someones are children.

Obviously I'm not a parent, but one day I hope to be. I hope and pray that my child will never need a life-saving transplant, but nothing's certain. I also hope and pray that I never have to think about losing my child and whether or not I would donate their organs. But just as certain as I am about donating mine, I would definitely want to donate my child's organs, especially if it could save another child's life.

If you are a parent and you are reading this, what do you think? Have you ever considered what you would do if your child lost their life? Would you donate their organs? Has something like that ever even crossed your mind? How do you even notify someone about that? Is there a registry for children under 16?

The last line in that article just really stuck out to me and really made me think about my future, about my non-existent-hope-to-be children, and tough situations you hope you never have to be in, but things you should probably have a plan for....

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