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For Organ Donation, Intent and Reality Don't Align
Date:9/12/2009

ial donors often tell organ donation officials that they have a sense of helping others by donating organs for use after their death. And the families of deceased donors say the act can help them deal with the loss, Patterson said.

In a time of grief, they tell her, the idea of their loved one's organ living on is a great comfort.

Patterson's donor network allows donor families and recipients to meet, if both parties agree. She recalls a woman who lost her son when he was just 17 and who then met the recipient who received his heart.

"They are friends now," Patterson said.

The mother and the recipient have dinner together from time to time, she said, and "when he comes to the door, she said she loves to hug him because she can hear her son's heart beating."

More information

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has more on organ donation.



SOURCES: Charles Alexander, R.N., chief executive, Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland, and incoming vice president, Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network/United Network for Organ Sharing; Kris Patterson, spokeswoman, Donor Network of Arizona, Phoenix; Donate Life America, survey, April 2009


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