Mom, heroin addict - and organ donor

CINCINNATI |  Anne Saker 
Grandmother Shawn Ingram of Clermont County poses with three of her four grandsons: Michael, 11, Haidden, 9, and Clayton, 4, at Veteran's Memorial Park in Union Township.(
Late on Aug. 23, the city of Cincinnati thrashed around in the fever spike of carfentanil. Shawn Ingram sat in a hospital room holding the hand of her unconscious daughter. A breathing machine hissed and sighed. Ingram wept with the realization that an overdose had ended her troubled child’s life. But it might save another’s.

“I knew she had marked herself an organ donor on her driver’s license,” Ingram said nearly a month after her daughter’s death. “I know she would want to do it. That’s the kind of person she was.”

So amid the devastation of her daughter’s overdose from heroin, likely laced with the elephant sedative carfentanil, Ingram released her daughter’s hand just long enough to sign papers to remove Heather Ingram’s kidneys and liver for transplant.

In Cincinnati and across the country, organ donations have held steady for more than a decade while the number of people on the waiting list for a new organ has grown. One perverse chalk mark on the upside of the opioid epidemic has been the creation of more organ donors. LifeCenter, the regional nonprofit that coordinates organ donation in southwest Ohio, southeast Indiana and Northern Kentucky, has been tracking the local increase. Continue reading
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