Malibu Times | Jerry and Carol Johnson
Organ donations save lives
Each April, the organ transplantation community sponsors campaigns throughout the country to increase awareness of the critical need for organ donations. Through this article, Jerry Jackson, a 42-year Malibuite, has chosen to make a personal appeal to our Malibu citizens, and their families and friends, to become organ donors. Jerry wishes to share his two life-saving organ transplant experiences with our community—a liver transplant at the UCLA Medical Center on May 14,1997, and a kidney transplant at the University Medical Center in Tucson, Ariz. on May 18, 2010.
The crisis exists because of the severe shortage of life-giving organ donations. Currently, more than 114,000 gravely ill individuals are on the National Waiting List. While that number grows daily, one person on the list (or one that was removed because he or she was too sick to receive a transplant) is dying every hour. More than 2.5 million Americans die annually. Yet, shamefully, only a total of 14,148 living and deceased persons donated organs nationally in 2011. (Statistics provided by United Network For Organ Sharing, March 2012.)
It deserves acknowledgement that while Jerry lay near death during a three-and-a-half week coma at UCLA, a team of doctors evaluating him was determining his fate. Some of them believed Jerry was too sick to survive a transplant. One suggested inserting a bolt into his skull. Another, Malibu’s own Dr. Leonard Goldstein, UCLA hepatologist, persuaded the committee to accept his opinion “that all this man needs is a liver transplant.” A few days later, UCLA transplant surgeon Dr. Ronald W. Busuttil and his team performed the seven-hour liver transplant surgery.