Topeka Doctor Offers Reassurances about Organ Donation

Every day, 17 people die waiting for an organ that could save their lives.

Doctors hope recent headlines don't scare families away from giving the gift of life. In Oklahoma, for example, a young man was declared brain dead and a transplant team was on its way to take his organs when he beceam responsive again.

A new courtyard at Stormont-Vail honors organ donors and their families as people who've truly made life flow into someone else. Stormont-Vail hospitalist Dr. Kevin Dishman says there is no other source for those life-saving organs than voluntary donation. He says people should understand asking a family to make the decision to donate a loved one's organs isn't taken lightly.

"Our job is never to remove hope," he says.

Dishman says organ donation follows a standardized protocol. Tests determine a person's ability to breath on their own and whether there's any brain activity. It's a team approach, where Dishman says you can never get too many opinions. He says everyone is at the table making the decision based on extensive material, not just one or two tests. He says medical staff makes sure everyone is comfortable with what's happening and that they've given the patient every opportunity to recover before the decision is made.

A patient can help with the decision by talking to their family now about what they'd want to happen should tragedy strike. Dishman says it helps your family know at a time when they're anguished and stressed that you've already decided you want to be an organ donor.

Stormont-Vail will dedicate its Gift of Life Memorial Garden with a ceremony Friday, May 2nd.


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