Three Utahns are indebted to the family of a 22-year-old Las Vegas trauma victim who died this week.
His organ donations saved their lives.Twenty-nine-year-old Kally Heslop escaped a narrow brush with death when the man's heart became available Thursday. She received the 210th heart transplant performed by UTAH Cardiac transplant team since March 1985.
Heslop, whose two heart attacks were a complication of pregnancy, was in critical but stable condition Friday night in the University Hospital surgical intensive-care unit.
Her family's prayers were also for the family of the man who saved her life.
The Nevada man's liver went to Lyman Anderson, a 48-year-old Salt Lake business consultant, who was given 24 hours to live when the life-saving organ became available. The surgery at LDS Hospital was his second liver transplant in two weeks.
The third recipient of the Nevadan's generosity was Susan Jessop, a 29-year-old diabetic, who received his kidney and pancreas in surgery at LDS Hospital. Family members said the Burley, Idaho, dental assistant would have died without the kidney.
"We are extremely grateful for his (the deceased man's) willingness to think of other people. He has given us hope," said Ronda Cook, Anderson's niece. "The public needs to realize that people are dying when their lives could be saved by organ transplants."
Cook believes a message printed on T-shirts at LDS Hospital: "Recycle life. Support organ transplants."
The need for organ donors has never been as urgent.
At the end of December, 1,032 Americans were waiting for heart transplants alone. An additional 205 are waiting for a combined heart/lung transplant.
Thirty-two names are on UTAH Cardiac's primary and secondary waiting lists.
"These people are all in end-stage heart failure and their only option is a transplant," said Danny McMahan, procurement coordinator for Intermountain Organ Recovery System. "It's estimated that 25 percent of people waiting for a heart transplant will die before a suitable organ will become available."
Said McMahan, "It's important that people be aware of their option to donate or not to donate and that they make their wishes known by identifying themselves as donors on their drivers' licenses. Most importantly, their wishes should be discussed with their family. Ultimately, the family will be approached for consent."
Unfair. Unjust. Senseless. But true. Only through the death of one can another survive.
"Of course we are sorry that a death helped us live," Sheila Purvis, UTAH Cardiac's second transplant patient, told Heslop's family this week. "But if this person is donating other organs, he could save up to seven other lives."