Firefighter's Death Spotlights Need for Organ Donors


A volunteer firefighter in Waterbury, Vermont, died Monday, waiting for a liver transplant. Mandy Morse, 47, was also a teacher and mother of two.

"She was a great mother," said Morse's friend, Chief Gary Dillon of the Waterbury Fire Department. "She fought a long, hard battle, and she fought it courageously. But even the strongest person can only fight so long. And she just ran out of fight."

A longtime liver disease she was born with left Morse needing a transplant, Dillon said. Dillon told necn he had even offered part of his liver to Morse. He said he was at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota testing for live transplant compatibility when he learned his friend passed away.

According to Mike Thibault of the Center for Donation and Transplant in Albany, New York, there are about 123,000 Americans now on a list hoping a donation comes through for them. About 17 of those folks will die each day, waiting, Thibault said.

Thibault said Vermont ranks 47th out of all the states when it comes to people signing up to pledge to become organ donors in case of tragedy. He said nationally, about 45 percent of people have made such a pledge, but that the figure in Vermont is lower. He did praise the state for changing its approach to signing up organ donors, which has increased participation rates, he said. Continue reading VIDEO