Waiting to Live Campaign

Did you know that roughly one-third of the more than 3,000 Michigan residents waiting for organ transplants live in Wayne County, yet only 25 percent of the county’s adults are registered organ, tissue and eye donors?

(By comparison, more than 37 percent of adults statewide and about 43 percent nationally are registered as donors.)

That’s a tremendous gap, one that our partner in organ donation, Gift of Life Michigan, hopes to close through its new ad campaign, “Waiting to Live – Wayne County.”

The campaign features five Wayne County residents – two of whom are Henry Ford Transplant Institute patients – all waiting for life-saving organ transplants.

Henry Ford Hospital has pledged our support to this campaign and our community by asking residents to consider adding their names to the Michigan Organ Donor Registry, a confidential database of people who want to give the gift of life.

I should also note that the Henry Ford Transplant Institute has joined Gift of Life Michigan, the Michigan Eye-Bank, the Michigan Health & Hospital Association and the Donate Life Coalition of Michigan to add one million names to the Michigan organ donor registry too.

As I’ve said before, transplantation of human organs is one of the great accomplishments of modern medical science.

Although still requiring lifelong care with medications and oversight, the transformation of patients, from failing organs to full of life, is truly remarkable. Continue reading

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Tragedies and Miracles In Medicine

Years ago, our head of trauma surgery developed explosive hepatitis. As a result, he developed failure of his liver and required a liver transplant. 

This was before we had a liver transplantation program at Henry Ford Hospital. 

One of the surgeon’s best friends ran one of the most successful transplantation programs in the country at a large Midwestern university. He was accepted there for urgent consideration of liver transplantation. 

We stabilized him in our medical intensive care unit and prepped him to be flown by aircraft to the center. 

As he was wheeled out of the ICU, I stopped the gurney and took his hand in mine.  I said, “I’ll see you when you get back.” 

Even with jaundiced eyes, his gaze pierced through me. “We’ll see,” he said. 

He died within a few days. No organs were available.

Flash forward a few years.  Continue reading

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