How one of the world’s longest-living heart transplant recipients would fix our organ donation system
The Globe and Mail | Andrea Woo
Hundreds of Canadians die every year awaiting organ donation, and many more suffer before they reach the top of the list. Simon Keith wants to change that – and he knows what it will take to turn Canada’s fragmented organ donation system around
|At the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) in 1988. Dr. Lawrence Golding doing the testing. They were studying the effects of cardiac transplantation in college athletes.|
It is late afternoon on a sweltering day, and a group of doctors at the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada has gathered around the body of a teenage boy. His accidental death days earlier cut short a life of potential – but his parents’ decision to donate his organs is giving a second chance at life to others.
In operating room 17, three teams of surgeons get to work. For more than two hours, eight white-gloved hands at a time carefully cut, position and irrigate as others look on. On a table behind them, silver bowls of sterile ice await. A cardiac monitor beeps.
After examining the organs and arteries for abnormalities, the doctors are finally ready to remove the heart. They administer a solution for organ preservation and an anti-coagulant to prevent blood clots. To one side, a team member calls the receiving hospital. "We’ve just heparinized and we’ll cross-clamp within five minutes," she says.
At 7:29 p.m., doctors place a clamp across the aorta and sterile ice into the body cavity. No longer beating, the heart is quickly removed, cleaned up and packed for transport. There is a sense of urgency; the heart must be transplanted within four hours of removal. Continue reading