Connecticut Children’s Medical Center is taking the lead in raising awareness about pediatric organ donation.
It can be a difficult topic to discuss, but one that saves lives.
The nation's first Pediatric Donate Life flag was raised at the hospital to raise awareness about organ donation.
“This flag represents love, loss, and hope for the patient families here at Connecticut Children’s,” said Jim Shmerling, the hospital’s president and CEO.
“It’s this type of collaboration that is critical to ensuring that together we provide The life-saving organ donation transplantation services that are needed by so many,” Alexandra Glazier, president and CEO of New England Donor Services, said.
Janis Wohlschlager’s son Joey was a patient at Connecticut Children’s.
“December 1, 2005 Joey committed suicide,” she said. “He was 11 years old. He was in the fifth grade.”
Doctors declared Joey brain dead and his parents chose to donate his organs to help others live on.
“Joey’s liver went to a 45-year-old man from Connecticut,” said Wohlschlager. “His left kidney went to a 41-year-old man from Connecticut. His right kidney went to a 24-year-old male from Connecticut. And his heart went to a 71-year-old woman from New York.”
Eleven kids became organ donors in New England this year, two of them from Connecticut Children’s.
Fifteen-year-old Nate Daly got a kidney.
“Before I got the transplant I was tired and had headaches all the time,” Daly said. “But after I received the transplant I had lots of energy.”
“We’re now celebrating in a couple weeks-- a one year anniversary,” said Nate’s father, Matthew Daly.
During a time of such great loss, doctors say pediatric organ donation saves lives.
“Those conversations may seem difficult to have, but it’s really an amazing gift that people can give,” Dr. Cynthia Silva, Connecticut Children's nephrologist.