Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Guest Column - Dale Flowers

April is Donate Life Month. It's a time when a renewed focus is placed on the importance of organ and tissue donation. Therefore, The Sheepdog's posts for April will only be about two things - Mondays will continue to be Music Mondays, and all other days will be devoted to organ and tissue donation advocacy.

Last week, I gave my two cents about former Vice-President Dick Cheney's heart transplant. I was happy to learn yesterday that V-P Cheney is now at home recovering nicely from the surgery (click here to read article). Today, my buddy Dale gives his. Amazingly, he and I are basically on the same page. Who woulda thunk it ?


The ignorance of the main stream media never ceases to amaze me. They see an event that could possibly enhance their agenda and run with it. They don’t check sources. They rile up the public over the report based on a vacuum of ignorance. Local papers generally know what they are talking about, because their readers also know about the subject of the report.

Recently, the printed and oral major news media showed their total ignorance of the heart transplantation process by blasting the heart transplant Vice President Chaney received - anything to attack the conservatives is fair game, forget the truth. Here is the truth concerning heart transplantation. Am I an expert ? Yes. I am a heart recipient. I know how it works.

The waiting list protocol is simple. First on the list are those who are in the ICU. Second on the list are those in the hospital. Third on the list are those at home who receive constant care. Last on the list are those at home who can live almost normal lives. I was on the fourth level. There is only a four hour window from the time the person is pronounced brain dead until the time the heart is beating in the chest of the recipient. The size of the heart must also be considered. It must fit into the chest cavity. The heart must be a match for the recipient. The recipient, if living at home, must come to the transplant hospital in their area to be prepared for the surgery. While this is going on, the donor’s heart must be removed, examined, donor services notified, and the heart transported, sometimes over 100 miles, to the transplant hospital. It is then placed into the recipient who needs it the most, meets the criteria, and is the best match. Also, the heart must get to the transplant hospital and into the recipient within the four hour window.

The recipient of the heart cries. They cry, not because they have life, but for the family of the donor. I honor my donor above all people. No one took the donation from him / her. They gave them freely. They belong to those who throughout history have made it possible for others to live through their death. And for the main stream media to use that process for a political agenda is despicable.

Dale C. Flowers
P.O. Box 904
Hendersonville, TN 37077
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