Excela facilities raise flags in honor of Donate Life Month, organ donation

TRIBUNE - REVIEW | Jeff Himler

In the early hours of March 11, 2016, Jeremy St. Pierre ended life support measures for his 16-year-old daughter, Isobel, with the knowledge that her organs and tissue would be donated to help others.

Many times he's second-guessed that decision — wondering whether he made it too soon after he and his wife, Marsha, found Isobel unresponsive a day and a half earlier in her bedroom at their Unity home, from what he believes was an accidental hanging.

Each time, with reassurance from the doctor who cared for his daughter at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, he came back to the same conclusion: "The Isobel we knew was gone," relying on a ventilator and not expected to regain consciousness.

St. Pierre and his wife are registered organ donors and note other family members were solidly behind the decision to donate Isobel's organs.

"We think this is what she would have liked," he said of his daughter. "We went forward with it, and we're glad we did.

"It made the worst situation in my life so far just a little bit better."

On Thursday, St. Pierre and his wife raised a flag at Excela Square at Latrobe to recognize April as Donate Life Month and to encourage others to register as organ donors. "Donate Life" flags will fly throughout the month at several Excela health care facilities, including its three Westmoreland County hospitals, and at other regional hospitals that partner with the Pittsburgh-based Center for Organ Recovery and Education. Continue reading

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