Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Summer 2017 - 13

Patients also worry that there may be costs involved with organ
donations. There are no costs. The organ procurement organization
handles the costs of removing and transporting the organs.
Yet another misconception is that organ donation is against
certain religions. In actuality, all major religions in the United States
support organ donation as an act of compassion and generosity.
As physicians, we can encourage patients to contact their religious
leader if they have questions or concerns about the tenets of their
religion.
Some patients are concerned that their families won't be able
to have an open casket at a memorial service, because the organ
donation will disfigure their loved one's body. Organ removals are
similar to any other type of surgery, and no disfiguration takes place.
Our role as physicians includes more than simply dispelling
misconceptions. In fact, we can help patients understand the
powerful impact of organ donation. According to Donate Life
America:
* More than 33,000 patients began new lives in 2016 thanks
to organ transplants (from 8,500 deceased and 6,000 living
donors).
* Approximately 48,000 patients have their sight restored
through cornea transplants each year.
* Someone is added to the organ transplant list every 10 minutes.
* Sadly, over 8,000 people die each year because the organs they
need are not donated in time.
In 2016, Reading Health System made 1,046 referrals to the
Gift of Life. Of those referrals, 15 patients became potential organ
donors and seven of the 15 patients went on to become organ
donors. In the first two months of 2017, Reading Health had two
donors who gave a total of seven organs and nine other people who
became tissue donors.
According to Donate Life America, a national system matches
available organs from the donor with people on the waiting list
based on blood type, body size, how sick they are, donor distance,
tissue type and time on the list. Race, income, gender, celebrity and
social status are never considered.
The organization also notes that while 95 percent of Americans
say they support organ donation, only 30 percent of Americans
know the essential steps to becoming a donor.
That's where physicians can help. Like any conversation we have
with patients, talking to patients about organ donor registration
requires being open, being mindful of the patient's concerns, and
being a good listener. It's important to remember that patients may
have something in their history that triggers upset related to organ
donation. That's why it's critical that we listen and be gentle in
discussing the issues and answering patients' questions. When we
don't have an answer, it is important to say so and to send them to
an appropriate source - either Gift of Life (http://www.donors1.org)
or Donate Life America (https://www.donatelife.net).
Discussing organ donor registration provides an opportunity
to educate patients who may not have known of the option or who
may have been working under preconceived notions. Transplant
recipients rely on the generosity of others, and that generosity can
impact and transform another person's life.

darrel
"RIP"
Harris
A

dvanced stage glaucoma
is difficult. There are
days when your vision
is decent and then there are
days....well ....that you wish
it was better. You are forced
to make accommodations
in order to perform normal
daily activities. After 10 eye
surgeries, you hope for a little
luck, a change in momentum,
something that will provide some
long lasting relief from the worry.
Last fall I was hit with a new challenge. Glaucoma doctor,
Dr. Francisco Tellez at Berks Eye, a skillful, dedicated and
compassionate doctor who has been providing me with excellent
care, told me last spring that the blurriness I was experiencing
in my right eye would not respond to the prescribed eye drops
that I was taking and that I should consult a cornea surgeon. In
addition, he said that good outcomes can often result from a
cornea transplant. He further carefully explained the process.
This wasn't a total surprise as he had mentioned the possibility
sometime earlier.
Of course I researched the subject at length and learned all
about donor tissue and how the surgery is performed. I met with
Dr. Kevin Shah at Eye Consultants of Pa, who recently relocated
to Wyomissing from the Cleveland Clinic. I realized after the first
meeting that he was a young, talented, enthusiastic doctor with a
wealth of experience. I had successful right eye cornea transplant
surgery in September and then underwent the same procedure on
my left eye at the end of February, which was also successful.
It's very apparent to me that the true heroes in this story are
the unknown cornea tissue donors. Without their generosity and
concern for other unknown persons, this story would not have
a happy ending. They unselfishly give to other less fortunate
individuals. Without this surgery I would not be able to enjoy
the many privileges in life such as watching my grand children
grow, play golf - my favorite hobby- or drive a car. To the donors
whose tissue is helping my quality of life, I put forward a heartfelt
THANK YOU!
Editor's note: According to Dr. Shah, Mr. Harris' vision had dropped
to approximately 20/100 in each eye prior to his corneal transplant
surgery. After surgery, it improved to 20/30 in the right eye and 20/20
in the left eye.

continued on next page >
SUMMER 2017

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http://www.donors1.org https://www.donatelife.net

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