Sorry I haven't posted in a bit, I just do not a lot to say right now. Hopefully soon.


Ethical/Moral Question

When I was learning about organ donation and being placed on the list there were many questions that I dealt with that were hard to answer. One of my readers posed a question about people receiving an organ transplant who seem to have done the damage to themselves. Some examples may be long time smokers or alcoholics who are on the list to receive an organ transplant. Should these people receive a new organ? Below I have posted the question and my response. I would love to hear your thoughts on the issue. I am not expecting everyone to agree with me, but I would like to know the views AND REASONS FOR THEM that are out there.

Czenfan wrote:

It kinda screws my head up about this guys [The crash recipient] lung transplant .. . because he did it to himself... he is taking someone elses lungs because he didnt care enough about his own life of health to just quit smoking.
To me that undermines the reason transplants exist - I feel they should give a renewed quality of life to someone, and not be a license for someone a renewed chance to abuse their new Lungs, or whatever...

Thoughts !?

My response:

This is a sticky situation as I deal with some of these thoughts about alcoholics receiving new livers. I will try to put my same insight on a lung transplant

My thoughts on this situation depend on whether he quit smoking when he found out he had the disease. If not, I really don't see it fair to give it to him when someone else who has tried to take care of themselves has to wait. In this case, him receiving a second chance just doesn't seem fair.

On the other hand, at 50 years old, he was born in ~1957. At that time, smoking was much more common than today without the known and documented risks. I have a hard time faulting him for something that was accepted socially. I would definitely feel different if he was my age and had been told his entire life that smoking will kill you.

Either way, I am happy that he received the transplant! Now it is up to him to show his donor family as well as his would be donor family (due to the crash) that he was worthy of his lungs. He must do this by taking care of himself and his lungs. He will be in the public eye for a while, so time will tell. This is a touchy situation and exactly why I am glad I am not in the position to make the choice about who gets what available organ.

Let me know what you think! I wouldn't mind getting a little discussion started here, just be tactful!

New Medical Drama

TNT has a new medical drama starting June 18 at 10 PM. The show is set inside a transplant center with an organ transplant surgeon as the star. Hopefully the show will dispel some myths about organ transplantion and promote organ donation. I will be sure to watch the show! Check out the trailer at



Another Miracle Happened

Found a news story today saying the man who was being prepped last Monday for a double lung transplant when the plane crashed received a lung transplant on Thursday. This is exciting news that one tragedy did not have to turn into two. The story is posted below.

Patient gets second set of lungs

By COREY WILLIAMS, Associated Press Writer Fri Jun 8, 8:38 PM ET

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - A patient whose double lung transplant operation was stopped after a plane carrying donor organs crashed into Lake Michigan has received a second set of lungs, doctors announced Friday. The 50-year-old Michigan man, whose name wasn't released at his family's request, was in critical condition at a University of Michigan Health System hospital after the more than seven-hour surgery ended early Thursday, the health system said.

"We are relieved that we were able to do this transplant and give this man another chance for life," Dr. Jeffrey Punch, director of the Division of Transplantation at University of Michigan, said in a statement. "Our friends that died in the crash would have wanted us to go on with our work."

The cause of the crash was still unknown, but divers searching the lake off Milwaukee identified a debris field Friday on the lake bottom containing much of the wreckage, said Keith Holloway, spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board

Heavy equipment will be needed to raise it, Holloway said. Recovery won't take place until next week, he told the Detroit Free Press.

Police said the Cessna's flight voice recorder had also been recovered, but Holloway could not confirm that.

The patient already was prepped for surgery, with his chest cut open and his lungs exposed to the air in the operating room, when the plane crashed, killing six members of a Survival Flight team.

Officials learned late Tuesday that another set of donor organs was available.

"If he had not received a transplant in a timely fashion he would have died," said Dr. Andrew C. Chang, one of two doctors who led the surgical team.

The patient has not been told of the crash. "I'll tell him more when he can handle it," Chang said.

Chang said the man's condition is "significantly improved."

The patient, a longtime smoker, needed the transplant because of a condition called chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, the health system said. He had been on the waiting list for a double lung transplant since November.

The patient's family, in a statement released by the health system, said it was devastated and heartbroken for the families of the six team members who died in the crash.

A chartered plane transported the new organs from an undisclosed donor hospital to Willow Run Airport near Ypsilanti, where a transplant donation specialist met the plane and carried the organs to the hospital on a Survival Flight helicopter.

"It is magnificent that this team has continued the work of our team that we lost," Dr. Robert Kelch, the health system's chief executive, said in an e-mail Friday to the health system's employees.

He noted that members of the transplant team continued to work as they dealt with the loss of their colleagues.

"This wonderful news doesn't in any way relieve the acute pain we are feeling at the loss of our dedicated Survival Flight crew," he said.

Killed in Monday's crash were cardiac surgeon Dr. Martinus Spoor, transplant donation specialist Richard Chenault II, Dr. David Ashburn, a physician-in-training in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery, transplant donation specialist Richard LaPensee and pilots Dennis Hoyes and Bill Serra.


Associated Press writer Todd Richmond in Madison, Wis., contributed to this report.


We need this in Georgia

I was reading yesterday on Got Liver? that South Carolina has a Donate Life tag available for vehicles. It will cost each person $30 for the tag with a portion of that money going to raise awareness for organ and tissue donation in South Carolina and providing assistance to transplant patients. This is awesome! We need this in Georgia!


I went back to the transplant clinic today. I was nervous going back with this being the first time I have gone over a month with NO bloodwork. The longest amount of time I had gone so far without giving them a few vials of blood was two weeks. I was happy to be moved out to a month because I knew that I was using the bloodwork as a crutch to keep a check on my health. As annoying as it was to be going back every week or two, as long as I was getting my bloodwork back I knew I was doing okay. My bloodwork today was almost as perfect as it was five weeks ago when I was in the clinic. My bilirubin was up just a tad but not enough to concern the doctors. It is a relief to know that everything is working and I am slowly throwing that crutch away. One day soon, I will only be getting a checkup every 3 months and then 6 months. That will be a good day.

On another note, there seems to be some turnover in the transplant clinic and my post-transplant coordinator will be changing. It always sucks getting to know someone new and letting them get to know my situation. Oh well, I am sure it will all work out. I am just happy that everything was good today!


Update on Crash

An update from CNN revealed that two surgeons and two organ donation specialists were killed in the crash.

From CNN:

The university identified those aboard the plane as: Dr. Martinus "Martin" Spoor, a cardiac surgeon who had been on the faculty since 2003; Dr. David Ashburn, a physician-in-training in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery; Richard Chenault II, a transplant donation specialist with the university transplant program; Richard Lapensee, a transplant donation specialist with the university transplant program; and pilots Dennis Hoyes and Bill Serra.

Sad News

This is a story that I found on CNN.com today. Sad that there may be one person die from not getting a transplant, but there were many transplant-important people on board as well. Say a prayer for those today.

Jet crashes en route to organ transplant

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin (AP) -- A medical transport plane carrying an organ transplant team crashed Monday afternoon in Lake Michigan shortly after the pilot signaled an emergency, authorities said. Rescue teams were searching for any survivors.

The plane was leased by the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor, according to a university statement. The team was returning from Milwaukee with unspecified organs for transplant to a patient in Michigan.

When health system officials learned of the crash, they notified the transplant team in Michigan to stop preparing the transplant candidate. The patient was in critical condition, the university said.

The university wouldn't release any information on the patient, citing confidentiality.

The university identified those on the plane: Dr. David Ashburn, a physician-in-training in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery; transplant donation specialists Richard Chenault II and Richard Lapensee; pilots Dennis Hoyes and Bill Serra; and cardiac surgeon Dr. Martinus "Martin" Spoor.

The pilot of the Cessna Citation jet issued a distress signal within five minutes of taking off at 4 p.m. from General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro said. The plane was headed for Willow Run Airport near Detroit, a 42-minute flight, Molinaro said.

The plane dropped off radar screens just after the pilot requested to return to the airport, and authorities notified the Coast Guard, Molinaro said.

Nearly three dozen divers were looking near debris and an oil slick in about 20 feet of water, Milwaukee Fire Chief Doug Holton said.

Coast Guard searchers found what they believe was the plane around 4:20 p.m., about 20 minutes after being notified, Petty Officer David Warfel said. The debris was found about six miles northeast of Milwaukee, Molinaro said.

There has been no sign of the four passengers or two crew members, Molinaro said.

Around 4 p.m. light rain was falling at the Milwaukee airport with winds at 12 mph, gusting to 22 mph, according to J.J. Wood, meteorologist the National Weather Service.

U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Bruce Jones said the water temperature was 57 degrees and survivors could live for 16 hours. He said they have not found any bodies.

"Our primary focus is on finding any survivors there may be from this incident," he said.

"The thoughts of the entire university community are with the families of those involved this evening, and we take consolation in the fact that the team was on a mission to help another," said Dr. Darrell A. Campbell, chief of staff of the University of Michigan Hospitals & Health Centers.

The plane is owned by Toy Air and based at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.