The day will come when my body will lie upon a white sheet neatly tucked under four corners of a mattress located in a hospital busily occupied with the living and the dying. At a certain moment a doctor will determine that my brain has ceased to function and that, for all intents and purposes my life has stopped.

When that happens, do not attempt to instill artificial life into my body by the use of a machine. And don't call this my deathbed. Let it be called the bed of life and let my body be taken from it to help others lead fuller lives.

Give my sight to the man who has never seen a sunrise, a baby's face or love in the eyes of a woman.

Give my heart to a person whose own heart has caused nothing but endless days of pain.

Give my blood to the teenager who was pulled from the wreckage of his car, so that he might live to see his granchildren play.

Give my kidneys to one who depends on a machine to live from week to week.

Take my bones, every muscle, every fiber and nerve in my body and find a way to make a crippled child walk.

Explore every corner of my brain. Take my cells, if necessary, and let them grow so that someday, a speechless boy will shout at the crack of a bat and a deaf girl will hear the sound of rain against her window.

Burn what is left of me and scatter the ashes to the winds to help the flowers grow.

If you must bury something, let it be my faults, my weaknesses and all prejudice against my fellow man.

Give my sins to the devil.

Give my soul to God.

If, by chance, you wish to remember me, do it with a kind deed or word to someone who needs you.

If you do all I have asked, I will live forever.

Our Story of Organ Donation

By Karen Loomis


The green ribbon is the national symbol for organ and tissue donation. Please take time to think about what you and your family would do if faced with this decision. Long before I became a nurse, I felt that organ donation was the "right" thing to do. I had already told my husband that he better tell me if he didn’t want to be one, because if it was left up to me and something happened, he would be a donor. I had said on several occasions that I thought that donating your child’s organs would be hard, but that it would be the "right" thing to do. I never thought that I would be put to the test to prove what I was saying.

July, 1999, was one of the happiest and the saddest times of our life. We were overjoyed with the birth of our fourth daughter. We never knew until the moment that she was born that there were any problems with her. We were blessed to have her for 3 very short days. We made the most of those days. We were trying to make as many memories as we could because we knew that we would not have her for long. During that time we made the decision to donate her organs. It took about ten hours to be sure that we would be able to follow through, because her size limited whom she would be compatible with. We know that if receiving an organ had helped her, we would have taken it in a split second. So how could we not donate? Late that last evening, I remember walking into her room and thinking: I can’t do it. I can’t let them cut her heart out! In the next second, I was thinking about how happy that family in Michigan was right then. We knew that we were going to lose our little angel, but how could we put another family through the same thing when we knew that we could (hopefully) help.

Sending our daughter to surgery was the hardest and the easiest thing that we have ever done. We have received so many blessings since her surgery. Our family has grown larger, not just with the birth of our fourth child, but also with the addition of four members that we had never actually met until just a few days ago. Maclaine’s heart went to a little boy named Samuel. He has an older brother. We feel like Samuel, his parents and his brother are family. We have been in contact since early fall, 1999. It has been a very positive experience for us. We talk on the phone frequently, exchange letters, and email every few days. We have exchanged pictures and videos. We just had our first meeting. I knew that it would be an emotional experience. I had already warned my husband that I would probably cry the whole time, but that it would be a good cry. I did really well (I think), because I didn’t cry until they were leaving.

We had a wonderful visit. It was like we already knew them from all the letters and phone calls and emails. We have already talked about us going north to visit with them. We couldn’t have asked for a better family to give our daughter’s heart. If we had to give a baby up for adoption (which is one way we look at it), we would have picked a family just like God picked for us.

I know that not every story will be as happy as ours. Everyone does not want contact after the surgery. Regardless of whether the ending is happy or sad. But always remember that your loved one can help another live. What a wonderful act for one person to do for another.

We are so proud of our little angel, Maclaine Elise that she was able to help another baby to live. The gift of life is so precious. Please take the time to talk with your family about your decision and how important it is to you. Without your family’s consent, regardless of your decision, donation will not occur.

You can read Maclaine’s story at This website was lovingly made by her daddy. He still has some more to add to her site. It will soon include Samuel’s story. We want everyone to know how proud we are to be a "donor family".



Myths and Facts About Organ and Tissue Donation

Myth: Wealthy people can buy organs.
Fact: It is a federal crime to buy or sell organs and tissues. Factors such as race, gender, age, income or celebrity status are never considered when determining who receives an organ. The organ allocation and distribution system is based on many factors including bollod type, length of time on waiting list, geographical location, severity of illness and other medical criteria. There is NO way to buy a place on the waiting list.

Myth: Doctors may let me die so they can transplant organs to their other patients.
Fact: Doctors who treat patients at the time of death have nothing to do with the donation or transplantation of their organs and tissues. Every effort is made to save the patient's life before donation can be considered.

Myth: It costs money to donate.
Fact: There is no cost to the donor family for the donation process.

Myth: Donation disfigures the body and delays the funeral.
Fact: Donation of organs, tissues and eyes does not disfigure the body or change the way a person looks in a casket. Donated organs, tissues and eyes are removed surgically, as in a routine operation. Most donations take place within 24 hours after death and therefore do not delay funeral arrangements.

Myth: My religion opposes donation.
Fact: All major religions - Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism,Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism - support donation.

Myth: Business travelers are drugged and their kidneys are stolen to be transplanted on the black market.
Fact: Although this myth continues to flourish on the Internet and other media Outlets, it has never been substantiated. This has never occurred in the U.S. or any other industrialized country.

Myth: All I need to do to become a donor is sign a donor card.
Fact: A person's family must consent to donation at the time of their loved one's death. If the family does not consent to donation, donation does not happen… regardless of documentation. Over 90% of families support their loved one's wishes if they have had a conversation about donation. For this reason, if you have made the decision to share your life through donation, it is imperative that you share your decision with your family.

Myth: Transplants don't really work. They are experimental.
Fact: Americans receive over 19,000 solid organ transplants and 450,000 tissue transplants annually. Transplantation is a standard medical procedure, and survival and success rates are extremely high.

Courtesy of Donor Network of Arizona


Over 500,000 organ, tissue and eye transplants take place every year.
Another person is added to the national waiting list for an organ transplant every 16 minutes.
13 people die every day due to the lack of a suitable organ for transplant.

Legal History of the 1990s

1993 FDA Regulations Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) initiates regulation of all U.S. tissue banks.
1997 Revised Arizona Anatomical Gift Act Emphasizes an individual's rights to be a donor by allowing the deceased's wishes to remain enforceable after death. Authorizes a third party to make the decision for the deceased donor by expanding the authority of a surrogate decision maker if designated prior to death. The order of consenting class is as follows:

  1. Healthcare Power of Attorney
  2. Court appointed Guardian
  3. Spouse
  4. Adult child
  5. Parent
  6. Domestic Partner (if another person has not assumed financial responsibility for the patient)
  7. Adult brother or sister
  8. Close friend

Reinforces the importance of the trained consent requester and sets forth specific training requirements for hospitals. Enumerates medical examiner responsibilities and authority regarding donation. Changes the donation option on the Arizona driver's licenses, removing the option from the license. Individuals can now request a sticker for their license to indicate their donation decision.

1998 HCFA Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Hospital Conditions of Participation; Identification of Potential Organ, Tissue and Eye Donors. (Regulations effective: August 21, 1998)
Hospitals must have an agreement with an organ procurement organization (OPO) under which the hospital will contact the OPO in a timely manner about individuals who die regarding their suitability for donation.
Hospitals must establish a relationship with at least one eye bank and at least one tissue bank.
Hospitals must work with designated OPO, at least one eye bank and one tissue bank in educating staff on donation issues and reviewing death records to improve identification of potential donors.

Warning: Sensitive material intended for healthcare professionals only

Brain Death Guidelines

Brain death is the absence of clinical brain function when the proximate cause is known and irreversible.

Three cardinal findings of brain death

  1. Unresponsiveness: no cerebral motor response to pain in all extremities (Nail-bed pressure and supraorbital pressure)
  2. Absence of brain stem reflexes: Check for pupil response, ocular movement, facial motor response, pharyngeal and tracheal reflexes
  3. Apnea: apnea test procedure: Place on 100% oxygen and normalize CO2 to >35 mmHg Normalize core temperature to 36.5C or greater, systolic B/P 90 mmHg or greater Place on 100% T-piece (or 6 liters 02 cannula in the of ET tube) Observe for respiratory efforts Draw ABG at 5, 8 and 10 minutes, if needed until the PCO2 reaches 60 mmHg or greater. The patient is considered apneic if there is no spontaneous respiratory effort after 10 minutes of after 3 minutes with a PCO2 of 60 or greater.

Pitfalls in the Diagnosis of Brain Death

a. Cervical spine fracture
b. Severe facial trauma
c. Preexisting pupillary abnormalities
d. Toxic levels of any central nervous system depressant
e. Presence of neuromuscular blocking agent
f. Severe electrolyte, acid-base or endocrine imbalance
g. Sleep apnea or chronic CO2 retention

Confirmatory Testing

In case of presence of any of the above pitfalls confirmatory testing such as angiography, transcranial Doppler ultrasonography, Technetium 99m brain scan, or EEG (not suitable for D. or F.) may be utilized to confirm brain death.

Documentation Needed for Brain Death

Documentation of brain death shall include the following entries:

  1. Document the pronouncement of brain death
  2. Document each diagnostic test performed as part of this procedure
  3. Time and date of declaration of death

Reference: Practice Parameters for Determining Brain Death in Adults – Report of the Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology, Eelco F. M. Wijdicks, MD, 11/94

Note: Each link in Cherish Corner is copyrighted. All rights reserved. Do not reprint without permission. Each link is an copyrighted excerpt from the book "Dear Cheyenne" by Joanne Cacciatore (c) 1996, 1999, except the Grandparents page by Ros Hurley, grandmother to Aaron Lee Farrier.
© 1999 Web design by Heather Farrier. In loving memory of my son, Aaron Lee Farrier.