The week of Valentine’s Day 2011 a young man in his 20s lost his fight in the Intensive Care Unit at Frederick Memorial Hospital (FMH). In the midst of this tragedy and as his family struggled through the first stages of grief, this young man changed the lives of six people he would never know – all because he was a registered organ donor.
On March 21, 2011, the man’s mother and step-father appeared on TBD’s Let’s Talk Live to share their experience:
February 16th members of his family gathered with staff-members from FMH for a brief ceremony to raise the hospital’s Donate Life flag in honor of his donation. The family says the acknowledgement of their loved one’s passing and the celebration of his organ donation was a real turning point in their grieving process.
The hospital plans to raise the Donate Life flag every time a patient becomes a donor. Each patient’s family will receive a smaller version of the flag to display at home. FMH will also display the flag for the entire month of April, which is National Donate Life Month.
FMH received the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Medal of Honor for Organ Donation in November 2010 for substantially raising the organ donation rates of eligible donors.
The Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland maintains the following list of patients waiting for a life-saving organ transplant (as of January 28, 2011):
*Note: The population served by the Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland is 1.25% of the national population. Totals listed may be less than the sums of the columns due to patients included in multiple categories.
Maryland residents don’t need to wait to renew their driver’s licenses to become an organ donor (although registered donors need to indicate their wishes on their licenses upon application or renewal). You can sign up to be an organ, eye and tissue donor on the Maryland Donor Registry at www.donatelifemaryland.org.
It’s also important to note Maryland does not require family consent to carry out a registered organ donor’s wishes – although Donate Life America recommends keeping your loved ones informed of your decision to avoid any confusion or delays. Their website, www.donatelife.net, offers a family notification card to help you share your decision to donate life.