Giving the Gift of Life
For many, organ donation is an opportunity to turn tragedy into life. Choosing organ donation often brings a sense of peace to the loved ones of someone who dies suddenly.
This was the case for the Warder family when 17-year old Tristen passed away at Flagstaff Medical Center last year surrounded by his parents, family and friends. Several hours before, the family had decided to donate his organs, knowing they could save lives. Tristen’s heart saved the life of a Phoenix man; his liver and a kidney saved the life of a Tucson man; and his eyes allowed an 11-year-old girl who had been born blind to see.
Samara “Sam” Griffin, an FMC intensive care nurse, was with the Warders during their final journey with Tristen. As a certified donor nurse, Sam is trained to talk with families about the donation process and help them make the right decision for their loved one and themselves regarding organ
and tissue donation.
“Sometimes we know a patient can’t survive their injuries or illness,” Sam said. “When this is the case, my role is to provide care and medical support to the patient and family through the end of life process. It is important for the patient to die with dignity and for their loved ones to be able to
grieve and make the end-of-life decisions that are best for them. Some chose organ donation, some do not. There is no right or wrong; either way we are here to support their decisions.”
Sam exemplifies FMC’s commitment to supporting patients and their families through difficult times. Recently, Donor Network of Arizona recognized Sam for her outstanding work with families facing decisions about organ and tissue donations. She was given the Arizona 2012 Outstanding Nurse award.
Additionally, Donor Network recognized Michael Reidy, M.D., with the Outstanding Physician award and Marvin Cody, Navajo Translator, with the Outstanding Family Support award for their
work with families.
In 2011, 168 organ donors in Arizona gave life to 478 people. Today, more than 116,000 people in the U.S. are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, with more than 2,300 people in Arizona on the organ donation waiting list.
Arizonans can sign up as registered organ and tissue donors when they apply or renew their driver’s license or ID at the Motor Vehicle Division, online at DonateLifeAZ.org or by calling 1-800-94-DONOR.
If you have any questions about Donor Network Arizona, organ donation, resources or reporting requirements, please e-mail us at DonateLifeFMC@nahealth.com.