Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Murnaghan case

If you've been paying attention to any of the news websites lately (CNN, Yahoo, etc), you may have seen a story about Sarah Murnaghan, a ten-year-old girl with cystic fibrosis who is fighting for her life. The story is very controversial because, well...I'll just let you read the article posted by CNN. The link is below:
Instead of saying my opinion on the matter, I decided to let Nathan Lawrenson do the talking. Nathan is the husband of a woman with CF who has undergone two double-lung transplants. Needless to say, they are quite familiar with the system of organ donation. I encourage you to dive into his thoughts and discover for yourself what you believe about organ donation. After reading the CNN article and the response by Nathan, please pray for Sarah and her family. Pray for a miracle. Pray for healing. Pray that God's will be done in this situation.

" Here are a few of my thoughts about this story as the husband of a two-time double lung transplant recipient. The following is simply my opinion based on over five years of being heavily involved in the organ transplant community. Please, do your own research and come to your own conclusions, but if you agree with what I have to say below, please consider sharing this with your friends in the hopes of ...saving more lives.

The bottom line with any crisis transplant story like this is very simple. There are not enough registered organ donors in the US (and around the world). We've all heard of the law of supply and demand...quite simply, the demand for organ transplants far outweighs the supply of organ donors.

By last count, 94.7 million people were REGISTERED organ donors in the US in 2010. If you consider that the population of the US is nearly 317 million, we can calculate that less than 30% of the US population are registered organ donors. Now, consider that many people who are organ donors will die in such a way that some or all of their organs will not be viable for transplant, and that 30% gets even smaller. Imagine if that number were closer to 100%? How short would the wait be then for Sarah and the other 120,000 people waiting for an organ transplant? Currently, 18 people die every day waiting for an organ transplant, NOT because of the system, but because of the unwillingness of others to become registered organ donors.

The system in the US is not perfect, but it is MUCH closer to perfect than it was just 10 years ago, and it is the most “fair” system of it’s kind in the world. The most frustrating part about this story is not reading about how the system is broken, but reading the comments of people who have read the misleading information about this story and claim they’ll never be an organ donor as long as the system is “corrupt”. I appreciate that this story is being shared around the world, and I hope that it will bring awareness and numbers to the organ donor registry, but I do wish the media would do their due diligence and report all of the facts so that people are not so mislead.

The system is more “fair” that what people are being led to believe by this story. I won’t blame Sarah's family for this...having worked with the media several times I know how hard it is for the media to get all of the facts correct and to not dramatize things in a way that is misleading. I can understand better than most the desire that Sarah and her family have to do anything in their means to find those new lungs for her. But, the facts being reported are somewhat misleading and incomplete. For example, I’ve yet to see any of the reports about this story list the increased risks of giving a small child like Sarah adult sized lungs. It’s not, as we are being led to believe, simply about giving adults the first dibs at adult lungs because “those are the rules”...it’s far more complicated and “fair” that that.

I'll end with this. Shame on anybody who has pity on this little girl but is not willing to be an organ donor AND ask those they know to become organ donors. I’ll be praying for Sarah and her family, and I hope you will as well. She deserves new lungs just as much as anybody else. BUT, if all we’re willing to do is pray, if you aren’t also a registered organ donor or willing to become a registered donor today, I have a hard time believing that your prayers will accomplish much. If you have offered to pray, to send money, or to sign the online petition for Sarah, are you also registered organ donor? Because ultimately, more than anything else, that is what Sarah needs.

Please visit the websites below for more information about organ donation and transplantation and to become a registered organ donor yourself today."

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