Would you donate your kid’s organs?

The parents of 9-year old Christina Taylor Green donated her corneas and have saved the eyesight of two children through their gift.

From The Associated Press:

TUCSON, Ariz. – Donated corneas from the young girl killed in the Arizona mass shooting have saved the eyesight of two children, the girl’s father told The Associated Press on Monday.

John Green said the Donor Network of Arizona told him and his wife about the successful transplants.

He said he doesn’t know whether any of 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green’s other organs have gone to any other children, but he’s under the impression that her wounds rendered her internal organs unusable.

Christina was the youngest victim of the shooting that left a total of six dead and 13 others wounded — including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords — on Jan. 8. Green said he and his wife Roxanna didn’t hesitate to allow doctors to use Christina’s organs.

“The fact that her organs were able to help people, that was an amazing thing to me,” he said. “It’s just another thing that this little girl has given the world.”

The Donor Network of Arizona declined to comment on any donation, citing confidentiality.

The third-grader had just been elected to the student council and had been interested in politics from a young age, which is why she went to see Giffords.

Green said knowing that other children have been helped by Christina has been a comfort during a difficult time for his family.

“We really felt a lot of emotion about that,” he said. “That was something that really made us feel gifted, still. We just want to make sure that her little time here in the world was well-spent.”

These are such good people. I just don’t know if my child had just been shot and killed (God Forbid!!) I would  be that loving and generous. That is such an amazing attitude!

I’ve been on both ends of organ donating. As many of you will remember my brother received a heart transplant to correct a congenital heart condition. It literally saved his life and we couldn’t be any more grateful to the person that died and had signed his donor card. (I have always marked my license to donate organs.)

On the other end, I was at my parent’s home the night one of my uncles died and we received numerous phone calls from the hospital asking if they could take different parts of him – skin grafts from different areas of the body and then parts of his eyes I believe. You almost would rather not know what they take.

I’m sure it would be difficult as a parent to give your child’s organs: Your child has been killed and now someone wants to take parts of her away. I can’t even imagine. But I also know how that unselfish act can save someone.

I’m sure the two children who can now see are grateful Christina’s parents made the sacrifice.

Are you an organ donor? If God forbid your child died would you donate their organs?

59 comments Add your comment

Jody

January 17th, 2011
11:31 pm

YES, without hesitation.

JATL

January 17th, 2011
11:53 pm

I don’t speak (or write) on that subject. It’s one of my very few superstitions. However, I will say that we tried to donate my mother’s organs, and because she had cancer (even though it hadn’t spread to anyone’s knowledge) they couldn’t take anything -including her skin. I found it interesting that the one thing my mother said she didn’t want to donate -ever -were her eyes/corneas, and that was the one thing they said they could take. I also found it interesting that the woman from the organ donor network told me when I told her that she felt the same way. She said they could have everything but her corneas.

I don’t sign my donor card/driver’s license, but they’re welcome to everything but my eyes as well if it happens that they’re able to harvest organs. I go back and forth on the heart. I do need to change my will to state that I wouldn’t mind my whole body being donated to science. That doesn’t bother me -strangely enough. If I could choose, I would like to go to the Body Farm in Tennessee, but you can’t choose that. Perhaps I could provide some fun for some medical students in a lab somewhere.

DB

January 18th, 2011
12:09 am

Well, they are adults now, so I don’t really have a say in where their organs go, except perhaps as next of kin. But they are both listed as organ donors on their license, so I’d have to go with that. Truly, if there would be any opportunity for a miracle to come out of a tragedy, I think I would reach for it with both hands, in order to make sense out of the senseless.

And my family knows that once I’m gone, make sure that everything that can be used is donated — it’s not as though I’m going to be using anything once I’m cremated!

retired teacher

January 18th, 2011
12:23 am

Yes for my self also for my children. The gift of life is precious.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

January 18th, 2011
12:37 am

I know JATl — I felt weird writing it — didn’t write what I would do not to jinx us!!

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by AJCMOMania. AJCMOMania said: Would you donate your kid’s organs? http://bit.ly/hhIlLt [...]

DB

January 18th, 2011
2:44 am

Jinx? Am I missing something?

motherjanegoose

January 18th, 2011
4:01 am

I am an organ donor. DB, I will have to ask my children…I honestly do not know. I know we talked about it but that it was their choice. I would hope they would be but I am not sure. To know that someone else can perhaps have a better life when yours is already gone, is a gift. As a parent, wouldn’t you want any organ that would enable your child to live until adulthood? If possible? So would you be able to selflessly give an organ that belonged to you or your child?

Paige

January 18th, 2011
4:11 am

My husband and I our and I would with our child also. Think of your child being able to give the gift of life to other familys. If you are dead, you don’t really need them anymore and if you want to have an open casket, unless you are neked….no one will know.

Steve

January 18th, 2011
5:11 am

Enter your comments here

Steve

January 18th, 2011
5:13 am

We did. Our son died in 1993, age 9 after an accident. We donated his organs and still look back on it as the only positive thing that came from the tragedy. It’s a brutal decision to make, but hopefully one which will give the family some measure of peace down the road.

smh

January 18th, 2011
5:40 am

yes to both questions

motherjanegoose

January 18th, 2011
6:56 am

God bless you and your family Steve!

motherjanegoose

January 18th, 2011
6:59 am

On a similar note….how many give blood on the blog? As far as I know, there is only one way to get blood and that is from someone else. I am O negative and that is always needed, so I try to do my part as often as I can.

A mom

January 18th, 2011
7:10 am

I would donate without hesitation.

motherjanegoose

January 18th, 2011
7:16 am

Sorry, I was not trying to hijack but January is National Blood Donor Month. While most of us will not have to face organ donation this month…we can give blood. Thanks to those who already donate.

deidre_NC

January 18th, 2011
7:20 am

JATL….i think you can choose to donate to the body farm. i did a paper on that in a class and im pretty sure i remember reading that you can. or your family can.

i would donate mine or my kids….i dont think i would want it publised every day in the paper which part went where. of course me being little ole me i dont have that worry.

deidre_NC

January 18th, 2011
7:22 am

MJG-i always donated blood and plasma…i wholy believe in that. i have a medical condition that keeps me from doing that now and everytime a blood drive is held i feel bad that i cant. my kids do…

mom of 3

January 18th, 2011
7:54 am

My girls and I are all 0- too so yes, we donate.
My neice’s husband was hit by a car a few months back while he and his friend were riding bikes on the road (subj for another day) and she donated all of his body that she could. The hardest part was after the hospital was thru she had to go back and claim his body from there so it was almost like she lived thru his death twice.
But yes, donate knowing that a death will help others live better.

DonateLife

January 18th, 2011
8:03 am

Dealing with death is very difficult and the death of a child always leaves us with the thought of why. Sometimes the only way to deal with this pain is to turn this inexplicable action into something positive. Organ, tissue, and eye donation is a way for death of our loved ones to still help others while at the same time providing a positive energy to those left wondering why. Georgia Eye Bank, located in Atlanta provided eye tissue for over 1800 cornea transplants in 2010!

motherjanegoose

January 18th, 2011
8:04 am

mom of 3 …years ago, I had student whose Dad was a military fighter pilot. His job was dangerous. He also died when someone hit him while he was riding his bike….very sad.

mom2alex&max

January 18th, 2011
8:24 am

Dear GOD I hope I never have to make that decision; but yes, I will donate anything of my child’s that could be of use so that other lives can be saved or improved.

Becky

January 18th, 2011
8:38 am

In a New York minute I would..I am a organ donor and ALL of my family knows this..Any part of my body that can be used is ok for them to take..I only have one kidney (other was donated)..In fact, the coworker that I donated to, we just had our 9 yr. anniversary (sp?)last Fri. I am going to be cremated, so why burn something that can help someone?

@Steve..Hugs to you and your family..As you said, I’m sure that is one tf the hardest things in life to do, but thank goodness that you feel good about that decision..

Techmom

January 18th, 2011
8:40 am

Definitely. If it can give someone else a better, longer life and allow another family to put off death, then it’s a wonderful thing. I hope I never have to face that choice for my son though I know what I would choose.

I have a friend who is a nurse and recently helped with her first ever organ donation. She said the hardest thing for the family is that they don’t see a lifeless body b/c they keep the body hooked up to machines so the organs stay viable. And then typically the next time they see the body, it’s in the casket. She said it was one of the saddest and yet most rewarding cases she had ever worked on b/c the family of the woman who died was absolutely devastated but they took many of her organs and were going to hopefully be able to help save the lives a dozen other people.

Yes MJG, I donate blood. But thanks for the reminder, it has been several months since I donated- I need to make time to go give again.

JJ

January 18th, 2011
8:50 am

ABSOLUTELY!!! I’m an organ donor and so is my daughter.

Aquagirl

January 18th, 2011
9:06 am

I’ll second the “God bless ya” for Steve—I’m sure it was wrenching for y’all but I hope it does bring you some peace.

Maybe this news story is a good opportunity for us to all have this conversation with our loved ones. I think Theresa hit the nail on the head with her comment about the weird “jinx” feelings. My parents have both told me they are willing organ donors. If, God forbid, something should happen to them I hope it will help a little that I’ve heard it from their own lips. (Obviously discussing the subject with your younger children is a different matter.)

DB

January 18th, 2011
9:06 am

@MJG: I’m a blood donor, too – I remember getting called in college (a big university with a medical school/hospital complex) to come and donate blood for a kid getting a then-experimental liver transplant. I loved being able to do that. And I’m registered with the National Marrow Donor Program.

JATL

January 18th, 2011
9:13 am

@Steve -my heart goes out to you and your family.

@TWG -I think you get a pass since it’s a blog topic and not something you’re just discussing ;-)

@MJG -I donate blood when I can. It’s quite strange for me -and perhaps a reason they may not accept my heart if I did donate it. I have an irregular heartbeat and always have. It’s never caused me any problems, but the first time I went to donate blood in college, the nurse FREAKED me out and told me that I absolutely could NOT donate, because with my heart if I lost a pint of blood I would immediately go into cardiac arrest and die! I was dumbfounded and also extremely horrified over the possibility of ever cutting myself badly. My mother was also horrified and hauled me to a cardiologist. He said it was just an irregular heartbeat and unless I started having some type of health issue -not to worry about it. He also said that in no way was I “guaranteed” to go into cardiac arrest if I lost a lot of blood. SO, about 2 years later I decided to see if they would take my blood. This time they never said a word and had no problem (and neither did I -I will do anything for Nutter Butters and pink grapefruit juice). Since then it’s always been hit or miss. I’ll give 2 years in a row and then the 3rd time be turned down because of the heartbeat. I haven’t tried since my kids were born, so it’s been 5 years -so I’ll go try this month. I always have said I march to the beat of a different drummer and her beat is 3 beats on, 1 full beat off, 2 quicker beats and then a 1/2 -then repeat ;-)

JATL

January 18th, 2011
9:21 am

@deidre_NC – I will have to look back into it. I last checked a few years ago, and they were not letting you specify donation specifically to the farm at that time -you could donate to science and perhaps wind up there (it probably changes with declines and rises in bodies donated to science). That may have changed their “admission” process. I should have checked back into it when my mother died, because we both wanted to be buried at sea, but that’s a nightmare and you don’t get it the way you want it, but she liked the body farm idea as well. I think my father would have flipped out though. I just love the idea of my shell being placed in some interesting environmental situation and studied instead of being embalmed and sunk in a vault and casket. Even if I wind up being buried, my husband and I have stipulated a green burial and we need to decide on where to buy our plots. They have a lovely place in SC and the Conyers Monastery sells them. No embalming -no caskets -you are wrapped in a shroud and placed 8 feet down and given a slate marker. I do like the idea of TRULY being worm and tree food someday and really returning to the earth.

Betty

January 18th, 2011
9:40 am

I am an organ donor too and think I would do so on behalf of my children as well, although I would imagine there being some push-back from other members of the family, specifically the father. Don’t want to think too much about it, as it will hopefully never become an issue.

I’m curious though, about the calls to the house regarding your uncle, Theresa. Had he signed his donor card and that’s why they were calling or was it a case that he had not signed it. I think the night of someone’s death would be a very difficult time to handle multiple phone calls about their organs and hope the process for my own family when the time comes will be a very quick process without alot of decisions or conversations that they will have to deal with regarding my decision to donate.

JJ

January 18th, 2011
9:48 am

The number 1 reason we are organ doners, is my mom worked in the emergency room at our local hospital. I cannot tell you the number of times she came home after a traumatic day with people dying, that could have been saved with organ donations.

I want to be creamated so I don’t need any of my good parts. If someone else can use any organs, eyes, corneas, etc, by all means let them have it. I certainly won’t need those parts anymore….

Nor do I wish to be buried, or have a funeral, the expenses are unbelievable. I don’t want my daughter to go into any kind of debt to bury me, and I do not want to be put into the ground. Celebrate my life with a party, don’t mourn my passing with tears…….I have lived a very good life…….cremeate me, and scatter my ashes over the Rocky Mountains…….don’t bury me. I wish to be free…….

JATL

January 18th, 2011
9:48 am

@DB -I’m on the National Marrow Donor Registry too! THAT is something I heartily urge ALL of you to do! PARTICULARLY if you are African-American or have any African-American ancestry as well as any other minority/ethnic group -Hispanic, Native American, Asian, etc. They are really hurting for donors from non-Caucasian groups. It’s SO easy and if you ever get that call, you will most likely be saving someone’s life (before you have to die yourself). It’s actually a rarity to be a match, but what a wonderful opportunity if you are. AND -the procedure is not nearly as painful as it used to be. You can find out all of this info and get a swab kit from http://www.marrow.org

I also encourage all of you pregnant and hoping to be pregnant ladies to PLEASE donate your baby’s cord blood! There will still be some (and probably all of it) should your child or you ever need it, but just like the marrow registry, there is a chance it could save someone’s life. Again -they are desperately in need of non-Caucasian donations (although Caucasians still need to do it). We banked our first child’s blood with ViaCord and were told nothing about the National Cord Blood registry, but with the 2nd, Dekalb Medical asked us about it and we decided it was the way to go. You have to deliver at an affiliated hospital, but if you do, it’s FREE -you just need to sign the paperwork before you deliver. They are doing amazing things with the cord blood stem cells these days. You may recall a news story about a man in Germany (I believe) who has seemingly been “cured” of AIDS do to a cord blood procedure. They’re finding many uses for it that eliminate the marrow donation I mentioned above, so it’s a painless win-win for everyone. However, right now -we all still need to do both!

JATL

January 18th, 2011
9:53 am

“due to” -not “do”!

Kat

January 18th, 2011
10:17 am

My husband and I plan to be cremated when we go, so take whatever you want (or can) from us. As for my kids, I would do the same until they are old enough to understand what is really involved and what it could mean. When they are older, they can decide for themselves what to do.

Stacey

January 18th, 2011
10:18 am

My husband and I had this conversation a while ago because of a Grey’s Anatomy episode where a family faced that decision. Although (I think) I would be willing, he is dead set against it. He also told me at that time that if I die first he will not adhere to my wishes to donate my organs. I have a close family member who is one the list for a kidney and I was willing to be tested to see if I was a suitable donor but did not make it past the first interview stage due to my medical history (gestational diabetes). I was told that if I qualified as a donor my husband would have to agree or I would not be accepted as a donor (because we have a minor child, perhaps?). When I talked to him about it his response was that if he would not agree to organ donation once I’m dead, why would I expect him to agree while I’m alive.

MaG

January 18th, 2011
10:18 am

I have been in this situation – I had an adult son who was murdered almost 3 years ago. I did not donate & did not want to. I doubt his vital organs would have been of any help to anyone as he was stabbed so many times. But, the thought of taking away any part of him was not open for discussion to me. The grief & pain over my loss was too strong & perhaps clouding any rational judgment for me. As far as my decision about donating any parts of myself – again a no. However, I do respect others’ right to do as their conscious leads them to do & I do feel it is a truly selfless act. I admire those that are able to do it. Unless a loved one made me aware that donating is their wish, I would say no. However, my mother wants to donate her body, so I would honor her wishes if were left up to me.

JJ

January 18th, 2011
10:19 am

Stacey – did your husband say WHY he refuses to donate your organs?

Stacey

January 18th, 2011
10:30 am

I used to frequently donate blood and I’ve donated plasma twice. The last few times I tried to donate blood I was unable to due to severe anemia. I signed up for the marrow registry about 15 years ago and have only been contacted once as a possible match but wasn’t eligible because I was pregnant.

Arlo

January 18th, 2011
10:32 am

Of course!!! What good are they buried in the ground or cremated?

JATL

January 18th, 2011
10:33 am

@Stacey (and anyone else who knows the answer) -how does it work if you sign your driver’s license/organ donor card and then die? Don’t your signature and your own wishes trump his permission at that point? I thought if they had a signed card from the dead person, they could go ahead without consulting a family member.

@MaG -sorry incredibly sorry. I completely get where you’re coming from.

Stacey

January 18th, 2011
10:35 am

@JJ…Religious reasons. We are of the same faith but disagree on this issues.

JJ

January 18th, 2011
10:41 am

Stacey – Thanks. I was just curious….

Queen

January 18th, 2011
10:46 am

Just because you have stipulated donation or carry a card doesn’t mean that you will automatically be a donor. Once you are dead, you have no control over what happens to your body. Your health care surrogate makes the final decisions.

It’s important that EVERYONE, no matter their age or marital status, have a Living Will, a durable medical power of attorney, a will and have a complete discussion with your family and health care provider regarding your wishes. Your next of kin may not be able to make decisions for you if you do not have these documents in place.

DB

January 18th, 2011
11:02 am

My MIL is so into recycling that she was worried about her artificial knees — she has had funeral arrangements for cremation made for 20 years. One day, over a cup of tea, she suddenly had a thought: “I wonder if I need to make sure they know they can take the knees and reuse them when I die?” I almost choked on my tea! I told her that with the advances in joint rehabilitation, there probably wasn’t much after-market for 15 year old artificial knees :-)

Steve

January 18th, 2011
11:11 am

Your last will and testament only concerns your material possessions. You must have a living will or durable power of attorney for healthcare document to truly make your intentions known about what you want done or not done with your body. People don’t understand this. If you become terminal or just unable to make decisions, your healthcare agent will have the document to enforce your wishes. Your loved ones will be upset and don’t need to be guessing or arguing with each other over what you would want. MAKE THE DOCUMENT AND SEVERAL COPIES, LET EVERYONE IN YOUR FAMILY KNOW IT EXISTS.

My mom died of cancer recently and she wanted whatever they could use from her body to be taken before cremation. We were told even though she had cancer they could still use her body for research and for teaching, which is contrary to what other people are saying about what can be harvested from a person dies from cancer. Of course her organs were worthless. Maybe there’s a story in there….what can they use from a body that was ravaged by cancer?

LM

January 18th, 2011
11:30 am

Yes, I would rather give someone a chance at a better life, then take them with me. As to my daughter, there was never a doubt I’d donate if we were ever faced with that decission.

I am a firm believer in a Living Will, and Durable Medical POA. I have these for my Mother and am thankful she always talked freely about her wishes, to the point we joke about when she dies, my daughter and I will wear black bikini’s when we spread her ashes in the Gulf of Mexico. She knows I don’t want to be buried. My Husband wants a big funural and to be buried, and would love to get the rights to have a burial plot on our land, but I don’t see us getting the zoning.

MJG, I donate blood and platelets also I am listed on the bone marrow list.

LM

January 18th, 2011
11:37 am

I have a older quasi family member. He will be 81 next week and he refuses to make a Living Will. I finally got a Durable Medical POA on him. But he will not accept he needs a Living Will. I don’t want to do something against his wishes, which I why I would like him to have a Living Will, but without one I will be forced to face and make decissions I would rather he made. The guilt of having to make the decission to pull the plug is not something I want to carry with me. But I also feel there is no point in being alive if you can’t a life. Quality of Life is also an issue I must face with regard to my Mother, but with her I have her Living Will so I know what she wants, how far to take life saving measure and when to say goodbye. With her there will be guilt but it will be softened with the knowledge I was following her wishes.

JJ

January 18th, 2011
11:39 am

Steve – they use it for medical testing, etc…..

Also, you do NOT need an attorney to do a Will. I worked for attorneys for YEARS and they don’t even get filed with the county or State. You can do them on-line, or at Office Depot, etc, or get a copy of a family members and copy and paste.

If you don’t do this, then if you die prematurely, your children, assets and finances will all be taken care of.

My Parents had a living will, and when my dad died, Mom got everything. Once Mom dies, everything will be split between me and my brother. We are also on all her bank accounts, safety deposit box, etc. If anything were to happen to my Mom, both of us have access to everything.

mom of 3

January 18th, 2011
12:06 pm

@MJG – he was only in his early 30’s and has a 9 yr old son and a 6 yr old daughter. My neice had only dated him since high school. It’s a sad sitution.

rrsafety

January 18th, 2011
12:34 pm

If you wish to be an organ and tissue donor, simply register at donatelife.net or on your driver’s license. All states now recognize the license sign up as legal consent for donation. This will spare your family form having to make the decision themselves. A will is not a good place to indicate your desire to be a donor because it is seldom on hand when the decision is to be made. Your license is usually the best and easiest way.

Also, most cancers excludes someone from being an organ or a tissue donor (except for cornea which can be donated by someone with cancer).

For those who say “no” to donation, how would you feel if you, your spouse or child were waiting for a transplant and slowly died while waiting. Why do you think others should be generous to you needs when you are not willing to be generous in return?