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Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation Helps Nurses Too!

Nurses Article   (10,661 Views | 16 Replies | 1,052 Words)

Donna Maheady has 38 years experience and specializes in Pediatrics, developmental disabilities.

1 Follower; 13 Articles; 38,929 Profile Views; 159 Posts

We often read about the benefits of organ, eye and tissue donation and lives forever changed. What about nurses? Are they ever recipients? This article share examples of nurses who benefited from an organ or tissue donation.

Are you an eye, tissue or organ donor?

  1. 1. Are you an eye, tissue or organ donor?

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Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation Helps Nurses Too!

Organ Donation

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, last year, organ donors made more than 28,000 transplants possible. Another one million people received cornea and other tissue transplants that helped them recover from trauma, bone damage, spinal injuries, burns, hearing impairment and vision loss.

Personal Stories

Patti, a nurse from Kansas, was losing her vision to Fuchs' dystrophy, a hereditary disease in which corneal cells die, causing vision to decrease as fluid builds up in the cornea. She received two corneal transplants that saved her sight. With clear vision, Patti is now better able to work, drive safely, and complete the tasks of everyday life.

Kelly and Lisa are friends and nurses in Pennsylvania. The two nurses have known each other for more than 20 years. Lisa had a kidney transplant 20 years ago. Her vital signs started to change and the handwriting was on the wall...she needed another transplant. Kelly stepped up. Blood work showed her as a match so she donated a kidney to Lisa.

Laurie wanted to be a nurse for as long as she could remember. Born with biliary atresia, she needed two liver transplants to save her life. She fought her way back to good health with the help of her family, a great surgeon and nurses. She's now a mother to a 6-year-old boy, works in a local emergency room and is finishing up her first year of nursing school. Her goal is to become a transplant nurse.

Catrina was diagnosed with leukemia in October 2008 and found a donor match for a bone marrow transplant via the "Be The Match Foundation". The mother of two inspired her fellow nursing students at Ohio's Hondros College to participate in the "Be The Match - Be The One Run" that aims to raise money and awareness for cancer patients who are also in need of this life-saving procedure. Catrina credits her illness with her decision to switch careers from accounting to nursing.

Jeff is an ICU nurse who benefitted from a live kidney donation from another nurse. At 18 years old, he had high blood pressure, and protein was found in his urine. He learned to keep his blood pressure under control, but by 2001 he was in stage three of kidney failure, meaning he only had 30 to 50 percent kidney function. Stage four passed quickly, and in July 2014 he started dialysis to keep his kidneys barely functioning. A co-worker learned about Jeff's need for a kidney and said "I have an extra"!

Diabetes and high blood pressure sent Bonnie into kidney failure and onto the kidney transplant list. She was on home dialysis, and still continued to work in NICU. Shauna, another NICU nurse, helped her co-worker out, donated a kidney and gave Bonnie a second chance.

Becky, a Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) nurse was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia at age 18. Over the years, she had a bone marrow transplant and donor lymphocyte infusions (DLI). After her fifth relapse treated with DLI, doctors decided it was time to search for an unrelated marrow donor. A donor was found and Becky chose to have her transplant as a patient on her very own unit. The transplant was successful and Becky rejoined her team as a BMT coordinator.

Are you a donor?

Do you have reservations about the process? Can you share a personal experience? Do you know any other nurses who have received a tissue or organ donation? If you are registered as an organ donor...thank you! If not, please consider. You could change a life. And, your gift just might help a nurse! Information about organ and donation and how the transplantation process works can be found at: organdonor.gov | Page Not Found I

In October 2007, the University of Michigan in partnership with the American Society of Transplant Surgeons launched the National Living Donor Assistance Center to help donors with travel, lodging, and meal expenses associated with the organ donation process. Priority is given to individuals not otherwise able to afford the travel and subsistence expenses associated with living organ donation.

For more information

Information about organ and donation and how the transplantation process works can be found at:

organdonor.gov | Welcome to organdonor.gov

In October 2007, the University of Michigan in partnership with the American Society of Transplant Surgeons launched the National Living Donor Assistance Center to help donors with travel, lodging, and meal expenses associated with the organ donation process. Priority is given to individuals not otherwise able to afford the travel and subsistence expenses associated with living organ donation. For more information visit

National Living Donor Assistance Center

References

A Nurse Gets her Sight and Life Back (2014). Saving Sight. Accessed at:

A Cornea Transplant Restored Sight for Patti from Overland Park | Saving Sight

Bone marrow transplant recipient becomes a nurse (2012).

Bone marrow transplant recipient becomes a nurse | Scrubs - The Leading Lifestyle Nursing Magazine Featuring Inspirational and Informational Nursing Articles

Framingham woman becoming transplant nurse after having 2 liver transplants (2015). WCVB Boston. Accessed at:

2-time liver transplant recipient becoming transplant nurse

'I have an extra,' nurse says of kidney donation to co-worker. MLive.com. Accessed at:

'I have an extra,' nurse says of kidney donation to co-worker | MLive.com

Organ donation: Nurse is co-worker's kidney carrier

The Danville News | dailyitem.com

East Tenn. Children's Hospital NICU nurse donates kidney to co-worker (2015). Wate.com.

East Tenn. Children's Hospital NICU nurse donates kidney to co-worker | WATE 6 On Your Side

Love Conquers All: BMT Nurse Shares Her Personal Transplant Journey

Be The Match Blog BMT Nurse Shares Her Personal Transplant Journey

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Why Donate. http://www.organdonor.gov/whydonate/index.html

Forever nurse! Pediatrics is my love and passion. I am a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and have been practicing and teaching nursing for over 35 years. I am the founder of a nonprofit organization for nurses with disabilities, www.ExceptionalNurse.com, author of three books and numerous articles about nurses and nursing students with disabilities as well as other topics. In addition, I am an autism mom/warrior and dog lover!

1 Follower; 13 Articles; 38,929 Profile Views; 159 Posts

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poppycat has 40 years experience as a ADN, BSN and specializes in pediatrics; PICU; NICU.

853 Posts; 36,418 Profile Views

I used to be an organ donor but when I was diagnosed with RA 4 years ago I was told the medications I'm on disqualify me as a donor. I was also on the national bone marrow donor registry but had to be removed from that. I now have made arrangements for whole body donation for medical research.

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traumaRUs has 27 years experience as a MSN, APRN, CNS and specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

165 Articles; 21,045 Posts; 192,915 Profile Views

I work with pts who have had heart, kidney, pancreas transplants and have been an active donor for many years.

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Paranoid12 has 3 years experience.

9 Posts; 1,025 Profile Views

Of course I am an organ donor. I have no use for my body once I am dead.

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I have been a donor since I was 18. I never thought that one day I would be the one in need of a transplant. Next week will be 14 years since I had my life saving liver transplant due to an autoimmune liver disease, Primary Biliary Cholangitis/PBC. Thank you to all that are donors! Anne RN

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OCNRN63 is a RN and specializes in Oncology; medical specialty website.

5,978 Posts; 54,192 Profile Views

I have never been an organ donor for personal reasons. (And before people start jumping on me with all four feet, I am equally opposed to receiving an organ--not a religious thing, just personal.) Even if I wanted to donate, I couldn't due to cancer and chemotherapy.

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xoemmylouox has 13 years experience as a ASN, RN.

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I am registered as an organ and BM donor. I signed up for both when I was around 18.

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Donna Maheady has 38 years experience and specializes in Pediatrics, developmental disabilities.

1 Follower; 13 Articles; 159 Posts; 38,929 Profile Views

I am registered as an organ and BM donor. I signed up for both when I was around 18.

Awesome...thank You!

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Donna Maheady has 38 years experience and specializes in Pediatrics, developmental disabilities.

1 Follower; 13 Articles; 159 Posts; 38,929 Profile Views

I have been a donor since I was 18. I never thought that one day I would be the one in need of a transplant. Next week will be 14 years since I had my life saving liver transplant due to an autoimmune liver disease, Primary Biliary Cholangitis/PBC. Thank you to all that are donors! Anne RN

Bravo to you!!!!

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Donna Maheady has 38 years experience and specializes in Pediatrics, developmental disabilities.

1 Follower; 13 Articles; 159 Posts; 38,929 Profile Views

I am registered as an organ and BM donor. I signed up for both when I was around 18.

Excellent.. Thanks so much!

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Donna Maheady has 38 years experience and specializes in Pediatrics, developmental disabilities.

1 Follower; 13 Articles; 159 Posts; 38,929 Profile Views

I used to be an organ donor but when I was diagnosed with RA 4 years ago I was told the medications I'm on disqualify me as a donor. I was also on the national bone marrow donor registry but had to be removed from that. I now have made arrangements for whole body donation for medical research.

Excellent! Did you donate directly to a university medical school?

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Donna Maheady has 38 years experience and specializes in Pediatrics, developmental disabilities.

1 Follower; 13 Articles; 159 Posts; 38,929 Profile Views

I have never been an organ donor for personal reasons. (And before people start jumping on me with all four feet, I am equally opposed to receiving an organ--not a religious thing, just personal.) Even if I wanted to donate, I couldn't due to cancer and chemotherapy.

I hope nobody jumps on you! This is a deeply personal decision...and you are entitled to yours. Thanks so much for sharing!

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