I read with interest "Speaking Up for Organ Donors" (January 2009).* I've always included my intention of being an organ donor in my living will and on my driver's license, and my younger sister made the same decision.
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Not unlike the patient described in the article, my sister experienced a massive subarachnoid hemorrhage from a ruptured cerebral aneurysm several years ago. When she was declared brain dead, her spouse signed the documents for the sharing of her organs with those in need. I stayed with my sister until she left for the surgical suite.
Two years later, we've learned about the quality of life others have experienced through her gift. The loss of a vibrant, talented person was softened because we knew that her death gave life to many others.
Our patients see nurses as role models, whether it's in the area of smoking, dietary choices, or organ donation. I hope that by being an organ donor, I can be a role model for others. I also wish that my death, like my sister's, can offer hope for others.
CAROL ELAINE NEIGHBORS, RN-BC, MN
*Individual subscribers can also access these articles free online at http://www.nursing2009.com. [Context Link]