Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Impassioned, Death-bed Plea Generates 20,000 New Organ Donors in Ireland, England

Famed Irish author and Emmy Award-winning scriptwriter Frank Deasy died September 17th, but not before speaking publicly about his illness and need for a liver transplant, which spurred 20,000 people to join organ donation registries in Ireland and England.

Deasy, who had a liver tumor, had been hospitalized in Edinburgh, Scotland while awaiting transplant surgery. A liver became available September 16th and Deasy's transplant got underway, but surgeons had trouble stopping his bleeding during the overnight operation (uncontrolled bleeding is a major complication for patients with end-stage liver disease) and, sadly, he died.

The weekend prior to his death Deasy wrote a first-hand account of his experienced that was published in The Observer under the headline, "My Wait for a Liver Transplant on Britain's Invisible Death Row: Frank Deasy Explains How a System in Crisis Could Be Transformed if More of us Registered for Organ Donation." He also spoke about his illness on Irish National Radio, prompting Irish Health Minister Mary Harney to praise him "for speaking out publicly about his illness and the importance of organ donation."

Hats off to Mr. Deasy for his willingness to talk openly about his need for transplant surgery and for encouraging people to be organ donors. Cheers to the readers and listeners who heeded his call and joined the rolls. Even with the myriad accolades Deasy won during his lifetime, his final public words may be the ones with the greatest lasting impact.

Photo of Frank and Marie Deasy, www.independent.ie

1 comment:

Something Happened Somewhere Turning said...

That made me cry. It is amazing what one person can do.