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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Life of Casey: Organ donations a new beginning after death

The Verde Independent | Jon Hutchinson 
Casey Wilkinson died last month. But he is still walking around today in four others.

His parents gave the ultimate recycling gift when he died. Casey suffered a toxic combination of oxycodone and methadone, part of a contemporary wave of prescription medication deaths that have become unfortunately too common.

He was brain dead. His body was kept alive on a ventilator, but he would not recover.

Casey's parents are both professionals and did not try to hide the fact of his overdose. Malcolm Wilkinson is a doctor and formerly was on the staff of the Verde Valley Medical Center. He is now the staff physician at the Verde Valley Detention Center. JoAnne is a chemist.

It's difficult to talk about. There are tears for Casey and nervous laughter but it is a discussion that needed to be aired and the time had come.

They have been frank in discussions about recreational drugs. "You know I drink beer," Casey told them at one point.

They had probably assumed there were other drugs, too. Malcolm says talk was very open in the Wilkinson family. There had been talk about opiates (as such pain killers are called) and the effects on the body.

They talked about the threat opiates can be: 'if you don't feel the effect right away, you want to take some more.' But too much is too much.

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