Retired Officer Raises Organ Donor Awareness
Tealy Devereaux MyFox Memphis
Memphis, Tn - Retired Officer Raises Organ Donor Awareness
"It was January of 2004 that I was actually placed on the transplant list." In heart failure and on the highest priority for a new heart, John Fletcher spends his days and nights at Baptist Memorial Hospital waiting. "We'll you have to have family support," he says. After having a quadruple bypass and a pacemaker put in, no one knows for sure when a donor will come through for Fletcher and extend his life so he can get back to living. "I've turned it over to God. Just live everyday the best I can with the limitations that I have."
Fletcher, who spent 15 years with the Tipton County Sheriff's Office before his heart attack in 2001, moved into the hospital full time May 28th when his doctor told him he was too sick not to need around the clock care. He hasn't given up on going back to work, and says he doesn't let his doctor's forget it.
"I never quit asking, and they say we'll see about it."
Baptist, which performs between 15 and 30 heart transplants a year, says Fetcher has a common blood type meaning a transplant could take longer even in his condition. "More people are waiting for organs than we transplant in a year's time so, that's why we strongly encourage donation," said Charles McDaniel, Transplant and VAD Coordinator for Baptist. "If we could get them transplants in 6 months as opposed to a year, they're more likely to live and that's the goal here."
"It's sad that it takes something to happen to somebody for me to be able to get a heart. It's hard to think about it that way," Fletcher said.
But Fletcher says so many lives can be touched by becoming a donor. According to Baptist a single organ and tissue donor can affect the lives of 50 people. "It's devastating to lose somebody, but if it's going to help somebody else, I would like for them to research it, give it a lot of thought. Anyway I can help anybody, I'd be glad to talk to them."
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