Deanna Santana had signed up to put the little pink dot on her driver’s license when she was 16 years old, but she didn’t really give it much thought until 27 years later, when her son Scott Santana sustained life-threatening injuries in a car accident.
That’s when she and her husband, Rich Santana, heard from an organ-procurement organization asking whether they knew that their son was a registered organ donor.
“The hospital followed the national protocols and notified the organ recovery agency that a brain-dead declaration was impending for him,” Santana said. “I had no recollection at that time that Scott and I had talked about donation. I can remember now that we talked about it, but when a family is in crisis, they don’t always remember those kind of things.”
The Santanas could have overruled their minor son’s decision, but they chose instead to honor it. Scott’s gift in 2011 inspired Santana to learn more about organ donation and to help others do the same at first as a volunteer with Sacramento-based Sierra Donor Services and now on its staff as senior public education coordinator.
Santana, a Placerville resident, also recently won a seat on the board of the national organization that oversees organ procurement and transplant, the United Network for Organ Sharing. It operates the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network. Based in Richmond, Va., the nonprofit UNOS board sets policy on organ transplant, administers the donor registry and patient wait list, and polices transplant centers and organ procurement organizations. Its board is composed of 42 doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, survivors, donor relatives and others.
Betsy Walsh, the incoming board president for the organ-sharing network, is a living donor. She donated one of her kidneys to her sister, Judy Jones Tisdale. Walsh, an attorney, is the first non-clinician to lead the board. Continue reading
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