Wednesday, February 16, 2005

NY Times Writes On Organ Donation - David Replies

Folks - Everyone interested in the issue of organ donation should make it a point to read Marc Santora's article on the front page (B1) on the Metro section of the New York Times today (on line at free registration required).

The story "Linked Forever by the Ultimate Gift" tells the tale of how the lungs of a 44-year-old woman who immigrated from Barbados ended up saving the life of a 58-year-old woman who had been suffering from emphysema.

Unfortunately, the on-line version of the story doesn't include all of the photos which appear in the printed edition. But the letter to the editor which I submitted (below) should still make sense.

Information on organ donation: and

To the Editor:

Marc Santora's article (''Linked Forever by the Ultimate Gift,'' B1, Feb. 16, 2005) does a service in shining light on the issue of the urgent need for organ donations.

I am alive to write this today only through the amazing gift of life - a liver - from a 53-year-old woman who died in the Bronx and who remains anonymous to me. Without the Dec. 19 transplant, doctors at New York University Medical Center tell me, I wouldn't have survived to see Christmas Day.

Not a day goes by when I don't pray for the deceased donor and her family. Like many who have gone through this, I didn't give much thought to the issue of organ donation before I became ill. Now I, and many of those closest to me, have signed up to be organ donors.

Perhaps the most useful lessons from Santora's story are those told silently in James Estrin's photographs. The lung receipient, Carol Coll, is a white woman walking the Earth today because she now breathes through the lungs of Maxine Watson, a black woman from Barbados. Our internal organs pay no heed to matters of race, color, creed or national origin.

The portrait of Petra Watson grieving at her mother's funeral, too, carries a subtle, myth-exploding message. The casket is open, no doubt providing the Watson family with a fuller feeling of closure in saying goodbye. At the same time, it assures families of would-be donors that organ-removal procedures are done with care, compassion and dignity, to allow for open-casket viewings.


David Bird
1839 Long Hill Road
Millington, NJ 07946


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