National DMV Appreciation Month, the Job of an Organ Recovery Specialist, and Donation Age!
Hey everyone, I hope you're all doing well! Summer has ended, and with it comes the beginning of the school year. This fall, I'll actually be studying abroad at Oxford University in England, so I'm very excited. Regardless, let's get into this month's blog post.
National DMV Appreciation Month
I just wanted to make a quick note that September is National DMV Appreciation Month! The DMV is always on the front lines of the organ donation advocacy effort, and they deserve every bit of our appreciation. I spent many, many hours volunteering at the DMV, educating patrons about the organ donor registry. I think I truly gained my appreciation for what they do there. If you visit the DMV this month, be sure to thank them for what they do!
An Insight Into Who Transports Organs From Donor to Recipient
Todd Hart (pictured below), is an Organ Recovery Specialist for Gift of Life Michigan. He saves lives by taking care of organs from the second they leave the donor until the moment they reach the recipient prepped for a lifesaving transplant.
He also works with surgeons when the heart, liver, lungs or kidneys are removed from a generous donor, then escorts the gift or gifts to the transplant center and delivers the organ minutes before the patient receives a transplant.
His job has taken him all over Michigan and to states in the Midwest and East Coast. Each time he drives or flies, Todd is acutely aware that he’s responsible for new life.
“It’s exhilarating and cool to find out you have to get that precious cargo to Illinois or Maine. You fly in and see the beautiful skyline and know you’re there for a purpose – to help at least one person receive a gift,” Todd said.
“And as soon as you’re there, you walk into the OR, hand it to the nurse for verification and that organ is transplanted within minutes,” he said. “It’s all timed perfectly, and it’s a seamless transition. This job is so rewarding.”
Before the trip is when Todd’s clinical work transpires: “I’m the surgeon’s right-hand man,” he said. “I help them help people.”
Once the organ or organs are surgically removed from the donor, Todd and his colleagues with similar roles flush the organ with special solutions and electrolytes that help keep it healthy and viable until transplant. Organ recovery specialists also cool organs with ice before they’re transported in coolers. Kidneys are often placed on portable pumps.
Todd and his co-workers do similar work with organs that are donated for valuable research and education, which he says is rewarding because those organs often help more than just one person.
Donation: Whether You're 2 or 88
Two amazing stories that came out within a week of each other truly demonstrate how age doesn't matter when it comes to organ donation! In Southfield, Jean Washington received a kidney transplant from a pediatric donor, a 2-year-old. And in St. Louis, Missouri, a 88-year-old woman who previously had cancer was successfully able to donate her liver. Absolutely amazing news to hear. Furthermore, with medical technology set to only improve in the years to come, we may see a widening of the donation age range! I'm very excited to see what can be accomplished.
That's it for this month! Thank you all for reading, and I'll see you next time (from Oxford)!