On both sides of an organ donation list

UC HEALTH | Erin Emery
Gail Gallagher, a volunteer with Donor Alliance, visited UCHealth Memorial Hospital recently to raise awareness about organ and tissue donation.
Gail Gallagher has a unique perspective as a volunteer for Colorado’s Donor Alliance, having seen how organ donation works from both the side of someone waiting and the side of someone giving.

Gallagher’s daughter, Kate, had been diagnosed with a rare condition called Budd-Chiari Syndrome, caused by narrowing or occlusion of the veins in the liver. Budd-Chiari affects one of 1 million people. Like others with Budd-Chiari, she placed her name on a list to receive a liver transplant.

In 2012, at age 26, however, Kate suffered a bleed in her brain and never recovered. In the Intensive Care Unit at Memorial Hospital Central, Gallagher made the harrowing decision to donate her daughter’s organs. She said that her daughter spent about 30 hours on a ventilator in the ICU.

“It was very peaceful; a nurse in the ICU who works nights – Sandra – she was wonderful. We took her off of the vent, and we felt very supported by Donor Alliance,’’ Gallagher said. Continue reading
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