The Baltimore Sun | Dan Morhaim
It's every parent's worst nightmare: the call that comes in the middle of the night or interrupts a workday. It's the police or hospital calling to say that your child is in critical condition. As an emergency medicine physician, sometimes I have been the one to break such news, and it never gets easier.
Two years ago, a good friend received that call. A car accident had left her teenage son brain dead. At the heartbreaking memorial service, my friend shared the bittersweet comfort she and her family derived knowing that a part of her son lived on in the many people he helped through the donation of his organs.
Some parents don't even get to have that comfort.
I didn't know Nathan Krasnopoler, a Johns Hopkins University sophomore who died when he was only 20, but as the only physician in the Maryland legislature, I came to know his family well.
Nathan was riding his bicycle near campus when a turning motorist hit him and trapped him under her car. A helmet protected Nathan's head, but his lungs collapsed, depriving him of oxygen for 15-20 minutes. Despite the best of care, Nathan was left unable to move his body, react to sound, or have any awareness. His neurological exams showed only the most primitive brain stem functions. Until he died six months later, Nathan existed in a persistent vegetative state.
Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-advance-directive-20120605,0,2269713.story