Organ donations: Both sides of the coin
by Steve Myers | Connect Amarillo
AMARILLO, TEXAS -- It literally is the gift of life.
Organ donations save thousands of lives....but sadly, on that recipient list, about 19 people die every day, waiting.
Pronews 7 recently met up with two individuals on opposite sides of the organ donor program. Here's their stories and information on an organ donor program that may help millions more.
It's every parent's worst nightmare....losing a child. About six years ago, Trevor's life was cut short after a fatal car accident. At the hospital, his family made the toughest decision of their lives.
"As a family we decided that's what Trevor would want, to donate his organs so other people could live. He was a person with the biggest heart. The most caring and loving person you could know, despite how ornery he was," remembers mother, Tina Short through her tears.
And that decision also made it easier for them to cope with the loss of Trevor.
"We Found comfort in the fact that nine other people's lives were also touched by that."
On the other side of that coin is Robert Burns. About five years ago, his kidneys started failing and almost died twice in the hospital. After about eight months on the waiting list, a 21 year old man, Dave Collier in California was killed in a motorcycle accident and Robert's life was saved.
"Um, uh, it makes me realize a lot of things, " Says Robert. "Getting closer to God and all that."
Now Robert talks to everyone about organ donations.
"If people are just educated on what is can do for others and whatever the case may be, how it can make them feel."'
And that's what the group Presumed Consent is trying to accomplish. Think of it like the opposite of the current system of opting in. With Presumed Consent, instead of signing up to become a donor, everyone's considered a donor unless that opt out. 22 countries currently subscribe to it, and a recent survey in West Texas shows majority support.
"We did a study in West Texas, through Texas Tech University, that showed a majority of people were in favor of presumed consent and that even those who weren't in favor of it believed there would be an increase in the number of organs for transplantation," explains David Courtney.
Tina says her family's received comfort from Trevor's gift and would like to meet the recipients..
"It'd be great to meet them face to face and if his heart were beating in somebody, to actually hear the heart beat.
Robert met his donor family and spoke at their church in California...and praised the young man who saved his life.
"I didn't know him...he was a fabulous guy."
So I asked Robert what would he say to Dave if he could.
After thinking a few seconds and fighting back more tears, Robert had quite possible the best answer of all.