Heart For Heart–Untold Story

When you think of Heart transplant, what pop-up on your mind? Does a donor have to die for the recipient to live? Or a dead donor’s heart has to be plugged in to the recipient’s thoracic cavity for him to survive an heart disease? And the big question, What makes a heart donor? And why should a person need a new heart?
On a night out with friends heading to a nearby grocery store, Adriel was an innocent victim caught in a crossfire of gang violence. He was hit by a stray bullet along with his friends, two of his friends died instantly while he was mortally wounded. An emergency force arrived at the scene few minutes after the gun battle and the victims were wheeled to the hospital.
Weeks and days of intensive care on life support, and artificial nutrition with unbearable increase in health bill, no sign of improvement nor recovery. “With life support technology, we have the ability to keep him alive as much longer as you can pay the daily bill ” said Doctor Wu. Adriel mother almost broke down in tears but was consoled by an attending ICU Nurse. Keeping a patient on life support in an intensive care unit bed costs a minimum $2,000-$4,000 per day and can run much higher depending on the patient’s condition, Adriel’s parents couldn’t afford the daily bill any longer and couldn’t afford to lose the fiction of hope that their child could be brought back to life, however, the story was caught short when Adriel was declared brain dead. Series of test were conducted and no brain activity was detected meaning that there’s an absolute zero chance of recovery.
In the midst of unspeakable grief, Adriel’s parents faced a gut-wrenching decision. A doctor proposed to them a slightly rare consideration. “Unfortunately,we couldn’t save your son, however your son is a very good candidate for organ donation…..” Doctor Wu said and paused due to sudden interruption. “Organ what!?” Adriel father’s exclaimed. “….we rarely give out this option to our patients, however whenever we identify a suitable candidate, we don’t want to loose it especially when some other patients are dearly in need” the doctor continued.
Adriel was that popular, gregarious and generous kid that everyone loved. After high school, he wanted to become a Paediatrics surgeons and philanthropist even though his father wants him to run his company when he finally retires. His father remembers him with honesty; he had a heart of gold, but he could be testy, too. With this his father couldn’t reject the doctor’s proposal. “I’m sure he wouldn’t reject your offer if he was to be alive” Adriel’s father said while his mother nodded in agreement.
With organ donation, the death of a single person can lead to the survival of many others, however the donor is only kept alive by a ventilator till its time to extract his valuable organs even though he’s dead Someone like Adriel, can donate up to eight lifesaving organs including the heart, two lungs, two eyes, two kidneys, the liver, pancreas, and intestines.
Organ donation was something Adriel’s parent had never really considered. After all, who thinks of such a tragedy will involve their child. But they both took some comfort in knowing that they could turn their loss into life for someone else; in knowing that in some way, Adriel could live on through others.
Adriel’s mother remembers walking alongside her son’s hospital bed lined with doctors, nurses and specialists as it was rapidly wheeled to the operating room with tears rolling down her cheeks. “It felt like it was a mile long — the longest mile of her life, but also somehow also the shortest.” she said “Then, it was time to say our ‘see you soon ‘” she concluded

12 months later after the donation, the two parents had ridden ups and downs of griefs, with an aching and gaping hole in their hearts. Howbeit, letters from strangers have brought them some peace and mysteries.
“We got a mail from a 20-year-old young lady telling us she can now see for the first time since she was born and sincerely thanking us for Adriel’s corneas. We also received a letter from a farmer thanking us for our Son’s pancreas and kidney,” Adriel’s father said.
Adriel parents received series of letters from their sons organs recipients, But the most poignant moment since Adriel’s death occurred just recently which came in form of a package, sent from Chicago. Adriel’s mother broke down in tears as she opened the “special gift” she just received at her door step–a white teddy bear that played her late son’s heartbeat with a tag ” love you mom, love you dad”. “Who sent this?” Adriel mother quickly open the whole box and found the out the name of her son written on it.

To be continued. …..

Writer: Ahmad Abdullah
University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria

Heart For Heart–Untold Story

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Stellicose

    Expecting the continuation
    Thank you for this story. It is heartwarming to read of those who save others by the death of a relative.

  2. Okwute

    Most of my questions on this were answered, but the few I have are:
    1. Why do people have to pay for blood when it’s donated.

    2. How frequent do people domate organs in Nigeria?

    3. If there’s a national list for organ donor recipients, how frequently are their needs met?

    4. What are all the donatable organs?

    5. Do people get paid for it, or they do it for free and the good in their heart?

    6. Med Zone TV says people don’t pay for the organs they get from donors… But I want to ask you if that’s true

    1. ultrainstinct1

      1. ” Why do people have to pay for blood when it’s donated? ”
      It depends on the kind of system used in that hospital or country. Government hospitals in Nigeria as a case study makes use of the services from NBTS which is an organization responsible for blood donation in Nigeria, bloods are collected through voluntary donation, however, whenever a pint of blood is used for a patient, the patient’s family will have to donate same volume of blood to the hospital and in the haste of getting a new blood for replacement, the family can decide to pay a donor from outside. Then the cycle repeats it’s self.

      2. “How frequent does people donate organ in Nigeria? ”

      I really don’t have any data about that. But organ are usually donated whenever another patients is in need. So patients are usually put on Waiting list for them to receive a new organ whenever a donor is avaola. Unlike the Blood, most organs can’t be well preserve for future use and also if it’s feasible the cost of preserving them for a long period is highly expensive . But in case of grafting for tissue repair, tissues can be gotten from cadavers in some cases.

      3. ” If there’s a national list for organ donor recipients, how frequently are their needs met? ”
      There is no exact timetable for the waiting list. You may need to wait years for a suitable organ. How long you will wait is also depends on the availability of donated organs and the degree of compatibility between you and the donor.
      The national average wait time for transplant is as at 2019 is :
      Kidney – 5 years
      Liver – 11 months
      Heart – 4 months
      Lung – 4 months
      Kidney / Pancreas – 1.5 years
      Pancreas – 2 years

    2. ultrainstinct1

      4. “What are the donatable organs?”
      Base on my research;
      Organs : Liver, Heart,Lung,Kidney ,Intestine ,Pancreas
      Tissues : Eyes(Cornea), Tendons, heart valves, skin and veins

      5.”Do people get paid for it, or they do it for free and the good in their heart?”

      -Paying people to donate organs is illegal in the US and virtually every other nation around the globe.
      – By donating your organs and tissue after you die, you can save or improve as much as 75 lives.
      -Donation helps the family members to cope with their loss due to the fact that they are going to save more lives.
      -It is also illegal to consider organ donation for profit gains

      -The main reason it is illegal for people to donate their organs for profit gains is to avoid Organ trafficking and other crimes

      1. UniBen

        Then why are organ transplants so expensive if the organs were donated?

        1. ultrainstinct1

          Organ transplants are so expensive because they’re incredibly resource-intensive procedures, involving high-paid doctors, transportation, and pricey drugs..also the donor may be compensated

  3. Gbemisola

    This is getting interesting……. But were all the organs collected at once and stored somewhere till they were needed?

    1. ultrainstinct1

      Only the organ needed will be harvested from the donor whether on ventilator or alive. When it comes to organ transplant surgery, surgeons are always racing against the clock as time is not on their side— organ can survive outside the body btw 4-39hrs after harvest.

      The team must first remove the organ from its donor, surgeons then prep the harvested organ for transport to its recipient, who may be miles and hours away by plane. Once the organ reaches its destination, the transplant operation can finally commence; once again, surgeons must work swiftly to ensure both the patient’s safety and the organ’s viability.

  4. Rofeehah

    Interesting, can’t wait to read the ending part.
    My question is that are those organs donated by donor collected and store in a place before giving to the recipient of the organs.

    1. ultrainstinct1

      Anticipate for it!! Kindly check comment above for the answer to your question

  5. klenzo

    if an organ is to be transplanted, the nerves supplying the organ in the donor’s body have to be severed , keeping in mind that nervous cells are terminally differentaited cell, is it possible that the severed nerves are reattached to corresponding nerves of the recipient or tranplanted organs work without nervous supply in recipient bodies?

    1. ultrainstinct1

      First of all, when talking about surgery procedure, we should know that the surgeons are well trained on every nook and cranny of the procedures..
      -Surgical mistakes can cause serious nerve damage. Often, surgeons operate very close to nerves. The contact between nerves and surgical instruments can harm the patient. –
      -Nerve damage can be a result of a surgeon accidentally slicing a nerve or running an instrument against the nerve so that inflammation results.

      -During a surgery, the surgeon can sew the nerve ends together. However, inner nerve fibers will still need time to grow back in order to be functional once more. This can take months or more depending on the medication prescribed(such as vitamin B complex and gabapentin).

      -Naturally, antibodies bind to myelin and nerve cells protect nerves from damage and stimulate myelin regeneration . A recent study also has found that regeneration of the myelin sheath can be stimulated by small, folded DNA molecules (aptamers).

      -In the muscular organs (the skeletal muscles, heart, stomach, uterus, intestine) pain can be due to ischemia which

      -In the parenchimal organs (liver, spleen, lungs, pancreas, kidneys), the pain does not arise from the parenchyma, but from the blood vessels in them or from the distension, inflammation or injury of their capsules or membranes

  6. Usaamah

    Pls what did you mean by #Braindead
    Tell me more pls

    1. ultrainstinct1

      The brain is the main control of the body system, it controls every single organ in the body including the heart.

      Brain death (also known as brain stem death) is when a person on an artificial life support machine no longer has any brain functions. This means they will not regain consciousness or be able to breathe without support. A person who’s brain dead is legally confirmed as dead.
      When it is dead or doesn’t function again it won’t be able to control every organ, so with this, breathing stops, digestion stops,every single ups and downs of the body stops. A person can be kept alive without a heart with a machine, but a brain dead person cannot be kept alive, however his breathing and circulation can be artificially manages through ventilators.

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