Honoring His Wishes

Due to the shortage of organs from deceased donors, unusual measures must sometimes be taken to save lives. The acute need for transplants led five Israeli families to approve the donation of their brain-dead relatives' organs. The donors included a 60-year-old-man who worked in the high tech sector and was a passionate participant in amateur theater.

The man suffered a stroke on April 13th and was determined to be brain-dead. His family agreed to donate his organs, because he had signed an organ donation card during his lifetime. They had no doubt that he would have wanted his family to honor his wishes and donate his organs to save other lives. Yet there was concern that, because he had coronary artery bypass surgery in the past, his heart might stop beating while his other organs were being removed, rendering them unfit for use. It was therefore decided to transfer him to Rabin Medical Center, where he was put on a heart/lung machine that would keep his organs supplied with oxygen during the removal procedure.

According to Dr. Eyal Porat, Director of the Cardiothoracic Department at RMC, this unique approach was developed for use at Rabin Medical Center in order to keep the heart working in patients who have been declared brain-dead and whose heart might cease to work while removing their organs. As the major hospital in Israel performing organ transplants, it is essential to use all possible means to ensure that the donated organs remain viable for use. This system allowed this man to donate two lungs and his corneas, honoring his wish to save other lives after his death.

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