House Calls: Giving the ultimate gift of life

By Dody McLeod March 12, 2012 04:46 pm

House Calls runs every other Saturday. Today’s column is written by Dody McLeod, a physician’s assistant who works in the Ambulatory Surgery Department of Sutter Coast Hospital.

The words “donate life” are simple but they have the potential to impact so many in so many ways.  April is National Donate Life Month and on behalf of Sutter Coast Hospital, I would like to take this time to share some information regarding organ donation.

I realize, for most, this is a difficult topic to discuss and that there are some myths surrounding organ donation.

First I’d like to address some of the common myths, such as, if you agree to organ donation the hospital will not work as hard to save your life.

Not true. The hospital focuses on saving lives, the physicians and nurses that care for you have nothing to do with transplantation, they are focused on saving your life.

Another common myth is that organ donation may be against a person’s religion. This also is not true. In fact organ donation is consistent with the beliefs of most religions.

Perhaps you are under 18 and feel that you are too young to make this decision. Well, this is true but what you can do is express your wishes to your parents. And, while this must be one of the most difficult decisions a parent should ever have to make, knowing that their loss has helped another family often provides much needed comfort.

Another myth: “My family will be charged if I donate my organs.”  The family is not charged for care related to organ donation.

Just what is organ and tissue donation? Organ and tissue donation is the process of recovering organs and tissues from a deceased person, and transplanting them into others in order to save the lives of those in need.

Here are some facts regarding organ donation:

Did you know that right now over 21,000 Californians are waiting for an organ transplant?  And, did you know that your decision to donate can save the lives of 8 people?  Over 100,000 people are waiting for on organ donation in the United States and thousands will die having never heard the words “we have found a match for you.”

In the event that we have a patient where organ donation is being considered, Sutter Coast Hospital coordinates with the California Transplant Donor Network.  I have had the experience of working with it in the past. It provides excellent and compassionate care as well as professionally support the hospital staff, the patient and the family. 

I hope that this brief article has informed you regarding organ donation.  For further information you can visit the California Transplant Donor Network’s web site (

Email suggestions for future House Calls columns to Beth Liles at Sutter Coast Hospital, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it