Archive for March, 2009

It is a long shot, but I promised to try.  As some of you already know, the need for quality health information in languages other than English is an important issue to me — and important especially in the United States.   An organization is seeking 10 patients or survivors of liver cancer who are native Spanish speakers, to review information about liver cancer that has been translated into Spanish, for feedback on quality of the translation.  If interested contact Brian Granger at info@spectrumtranslation.com.

Speaking of quality translation, here’s my woefully intermediate attempt to translate the above:

Creo que la necesidad para la traducción de información médica, de inglés a español, es una problema importante en los Estados Unidos.  Una organización en Los Paises Bajos esta buscando a 10 pacientes que sufren de cáncer de hígado, para repasar tradujo la información para la calidad.  Si esto le interesa, escribe a Brian Granger, info@spectrumtranslation.com.


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Twin Citians – come out and help slay the dragon of Hepatitis C at an exciting event that’ is close to my heart.  The Tawn Mastrey Foundation is hosting an intimate concert event at the Station 4 Club on Saturday, April 4, 2009, from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m.  The event celebrates the life of veteran rock DJ (KNAC, Sirius, etc.) Tawn Mastrey, who passed away of Hepatitis C last year. 

Her sister Cara Mastrey, who I have the blessing of knowing personally, is the angel behind the foundation, which is fulfilling Cara’s promise to Tawn to stop the spread of HCV.  The concert is a launch fundraising event for the Tawn Mastrey Foundation. For details visit www.tawnmastreybenefit.com or, on Facebook, search for “Tawn Mastrey Foundation.”

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Living organ donors are some of the most naturally and intuitively generous people I know.  Many of us simply don’t give a second thought to the idea of giving.  The desire just comes to us like the impulse to breathe, or drink water when we are thirsty.

I found a very fun blog this weekend that I suspect my fellow living donors will enjoy: 2009: A Year of Giving Without Spending.  Author Jennifer is posting one idea per day about how to give something to the world without spending money — 365 days of great ideas and inspiration.   

Day 66 was “Live Organ Donation” (bless her!) and when I wrote to her this weekend to say thanks for thinking of it, she amended her post to link to our Web site, aw! Thanks, Jennifer! (And thanks for the daily inspiration.  You are making a bigger impact than you may realize by spreading your positivity and sharing your gifts.)

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An active blogger who is living in Jerusalem for a year recently posted about her experience celebrating the Jewish holiday of Purim. In her post, she describes her experience working with the Halachic Organ Donor Society, and in reading it I learned a little about the Jewish religion’s perspective on organ donation. Here’s an excerpt from her post:

I chose to participate in an educational project regarding halachic organ donation. The issues are as follows: Rabbis who object to organ donation do not do so because a body must be buried whole (though some people do use this as their objection). Rather, they object because organs are usually taken from a person who is brain-stem dead but whose heart is still beating with the help of a ventilator. These Rabbis consider a beating heart to be a sign of life and therefore donating organs at this point would be killing the donor. What I did for my day of chesed (kindness) was to spread some education on the issues as well as information on famous Rabbis who do agree with organ donation. A LOT of Orthodox and Haredi Jews follow the thoughts and ideals shared by their Rabbi so closely that they refuse to deviate from their Rabbi’s viewpoints. Therefore, if their Rabbi doesn’t agree with the idea of organ donation then they do not agree with organ donation. Luckily, the organization I worked with, the Halachic Organ Donation Society, has great information that lists every major Rebbe who supports the organization. Also, the organization created a donor card that allows donors to choose to donate their organs at brain-stem death or after cardiac death. So, a group of us stood on the busy intersection of Emek Refaim and Rachel Immeinu to hand out information and sign people up for organ donation cards (it helped that our friend, Josh, brought his cute new puppy. Puppies are always a great engagement tool).

I will be adding a link to the lists at right to the Halachic Organ Donor Society’s Web site.

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An insider at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center suggested two “right questions” to ask of a transplant center to better understand the risk of being a living donor:

  • How many of your living donors had complications required invasive procedures?
  • What is that number as a percentage of your total living donors for that same time period?

I like these questions — precise, unambiguous, and, if you need the help, good conversation starters overall about the risks and your transplant centers’ view of those risks.  It is worth taking the time to spell out: Different centers will have different answers, different approaches, different perspectives.

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Score another achievement for kidney paired donation (or daisy chain transplants, or domino transplants, as they are sometimes called). Johns Hopkins in Baltimore joined Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis and Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City for a 12-patient, six-transplant cross-country kidney chain.

An anonymous altruistic living donor began the chain, and a paitent on the UNOS waiting list for a kidney was the last link. According to the Johns Hopkins news release, all six donors and all six recipients are recovering.

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In case I haven’t mentioned this in a while, I love my brotherJoe was recently back in the hospital with an infection for a brief stay, and took the time to mail me the day’s menu, as a nod to our memories of the marvelous food we had back when we were occupying nearby hospital rooms post transplant.  He highlighted one of the dinner choices: “290: Homemade Salisbury Steak.”  It’s homemade! How can you beat this?!?

Alarmingly, it is the only item on the entire menu that is, apparently, homemade.  The rest must be shipped in from a factory – an idea that scares me a little for items like “132: Garden Quiche” and “956: Cheese Omelet.” 

Ah, hospital food.

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