Would you tell the family?

  1. 0 My cousin was in a serious car accident and was put on life support. After four days, the decision was made to shut off the machines, and my cousin's blood was drawn for tissue typing to see if she could donate a kidney to me... I'm a dialysis patient. I knew that my cousin and I had the same blood type. I got my blood drawn, and the next day my aunt was told that we weren't a match so the transplant wouldn't be done. My aunt was not asked if she wanted to donate my cousin's organs to anyone else.

    My cousin was a known drug user. It's possible that her drug use contributed to the car accident. Would the doctor have decided not to do the transplant because of the presence of drugs, and just told my aunt that we weren't a match in order to spare her the further grief of finding out her daughter was back on drugs at the time of her accident? I thought this might be what happened since my aunt wasn't asked for permission to use my cousin's organs for anyone else.

    Here is my question: If you were in this situation, would you tell the parents the truth? Or would you feel that the parents already had enough to deal with?
  2. Visit  MedicalZebra profile page

    About MedicalZebra

    From 'Massachusetts'; Joined Feb '05; Posts: 66.

    13 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  Sadie04 profile page
    0
    Wow Zebra, that's a tough one. I'm so sorry this has happened to you and your family
  4. Visit  traumaRUs profile page
    0
    So very sorry for your circumstances. I personally would not tell the family - they have suffered enough.
  5. Visit  MedicalZebra profile page
    0
    Thanks, Sadie... it was especially tough because my cousin was only 27 and had been battling drug addiction-- we thought she was winning the battle, but I guess she wasn't.

    Coincidentally, my cousin and her boyfriend were on their way to their new jobs in the building next to my dialysis unit (boyfriend walked away from the accident with a minor back injury). Two of my nurses were late to work because they got stuck in the traffic behind the accident... they saw my cousin lying in the road.

    I told my mother why I thought the doctor said we weren't a tissue match, but I don't think she ever told my aunt. My aunt never wanted to admit my cousin had a problem and refused to check her into rehab, and was waiting for my cousin to do it herself... sort of a catch-22 because my cousin didn't think she had a problem, either.
  6. Visit  MedicalZebra profile page
    0
    Thank you also, trauma.
  7. Visit  A476 profile page
    0
    HEY GIRLFRIEND- YOU AND I ARE IN THE SAME BOAT. IT WAS MY UNCLE THAT WAS USING AND HE WAS IN A HEAD-ON COLLISION AND DIED INSTANTLY. MY OTHER UNCLE THAT WAS DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER NEEDED AN ORGAN. ONCE WE WERE TOLD OF HIS USING, HIS WIFE REFUSED AS WELL AS HE DID B/C OF POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS GREATER DOWN THE LINE. WE WERE TOLD OF THIS AND THERE ARE STILL PEOPLE IN THE FAMILY IN DENIAL TO THIS DAY ABOUT IT. WHAT HE DID, HE CHOSE TO DO IT. IT'S SAD BECAUSE I LOST 2 UNCLES AND ONE COULD'VE BEEN SAVED. SO IN ALL I THINK THAT THE FAMILY HAS A RIGHT TO KNOW IT GIVES CLOSURE AS TO WHY. AND IF THEY SO CHOOSE TO LIVE IN DENIAL THEN AT LEAST THEY KNOW WHY. YOU CAN CLOSE THAT CHAPTER IN YOUR LIFE:angel2: . HANG IN THERE.

    Quote from MedicalZebra
    My cousin was in a serious car accident and was put on life support. After four days, the decision was made to shut off the machines, and my cousin's blood was drawn for tissue typing to see if she could donate a kidney to me... I'm a dialysis patient. I knew that my cousin and I had the same blood type. I got my blood drawn, and the next day my aunt was told that we weren't a match so the transplant wouldn't be done. My aunt was not asked if she wanted to donate my cousin's organs to anyone else.

    My cousin was a known drug user. It's possible that her drug use contributed to the car accident. Would the doctor have decided not to do the transplant because of the presence of drugs, and just told my aunt that we weren't a match in order to spare her the further grief of finding out her daughter was back on drugs at the time of her accident? I thought this might be what happened since my aunt wasn't asked for permission to use my cousin's organs for anyone else.

    Here is my question: If you were in this situation, would you tell the parents the truth? Or would you feel that the parents already had enough to deal with?
  8. Visit  happthearts profile page
    0
    Quote from MedicalZebra
    My cousin was in a serious car accident and was put on life support. After four days, the decision was made to shut off the machines, and my cousin's blood was drawn for tissue typing to see if she could donate a kidney to me... I'm a dialysis patient. I knew that my cousin and I had the same blood type. I got my blood drawn, and the next day my aunt was told that we weren't a match so the transplant wouldn't be done. My aunt was not asked if she wanted to donate my cousin's organs to anyone else.

    My cousin was a known drug user. It's possible that her drug use contributed to the car accident. Would the doctor have decided not to do the transplant because of the presence of drugs, and just told my aunt that we weren't a match in order to spare her the further grief of finding out her daughter was back on drugs at the time of her accident? I thought this might be what happened since my aunt wasn't asked for permission to use my cousin's organs for anyone else.

    Here is my question: If you were in this situation, would you tell the parents the truth? Or would you feel that the parents already had enough to deal with?
    Let me put it this way because of HIPPA you can't that Pt has a right to privacy . If He /she died and is over age 18 and it is up to the doctor to say or not .Yes the doc might have did that to spare you trouble with the presence of drugs , Or there might have possible damaged the Kidney in the accident itself . They would probably find out anyway when the get the death certifcation.
  9. Visit  MedicalZebra profile page
    0
    Thanks, A476... sorry about your uncles. It's like a double tragedy when the person who dies can't be a donor because of drug use.
  10. Visit  meownsmile profile page
    0
    I also am truely sorry this happened. It is a sad situation. I think you not telling them anything will save your family. More than likely the "next of kin" who had to deal with the immediate trauma and loss may eventually get all the reports from the coroner anyway and may find out that way. Again im sorry for your loss, but save you family and let them find out if they must another way.
  11. Visit  nesher profile page
    0
    There would be no point in telling your aunt about the drug situation, it doesn't change anything, and it sounds like she only harmed herself in the accident.
    It is too bad some good wasn't able to come from the accident in the form of a new kidney for you...
  12. Visit  barefootlady profile page
    0
    I am so sorry for your loss. I would not tell the family anything other than was stated by the physician. HIPPA mandates this and why cause more pain and suffering.
  13. Visit  stevierae profile page
    0
    So sorry, Sadie.

    A couple of ideas--I am not certain--you are probably more up on this than I am--but isn't the same blood type just a very small part of tissue typing? Aren't there other factors that might have made your cousin's kidney incompatible with you, and likely to be rejected? That is, a poor match?

    I am betting that your cousin had Hepatitis (probably C) as well, if she was a drug abuser--that alone would have made her kidney unusable for transplant.

    I think the doctor was probably trying to be as kind as possible, and leaving her mother with only good memories of your cousin (her daughter) by not elaborating on the whys of incompatibility.

    I pray that you get your donor. We all proved incompatible donors for my own cousin--and then, her lifelong best friend from high school (they are both in their late 40s now) got tested--on a whim--and was a perfect match! My cousin got her new kidney from her last year, and is doing great.
    Last edit by stevierae on Mar 22, '05
  14. Visit  kristylee profile page
    0
    I'm very sorry for your familys' loss.

    I honestly don't think that the doctor would say that it wasn't a match just to spare the mothers' feelings.

    Also, I don't think that telling the mother about her drug use will do anything except make things worse. Some things are better left untold...and what you don't know won't hurt you.


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