..making a case for National Health Care

..organ donation saved this child twice

Read this heart warming story of a 16 yr old Hannah Clark few days ago.

In 1994 when she was eight-months-old, Hannah was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy — an inflammation of the heart muscle that impairs the heart’s ability to work properly.

Hannah’s heart was failing and she needed a transplant. But instead of taking her own heart out, doctors added a new donated heart to her own when she was just two-years-old.

The so-called “piggyback” operation allowed the donor heart to do the work while Hannah’s heart rested.

But Hannah was not in the clear yet. As with any organ transplant, Hannah’s body was likely to reject her new heart and she had to take powerful immune suppression drugs.

Those drugs allowed her body to accept the donor heart but also led to cancer and yet another medical battle for Hannah that lasted for years.

Nearly 11 years after receiving the extra heart, there was more bad news: The immuno-suppression drugs were no longer working. Hannah’s body was rejecting the donor heart.

In February 2006, her doctors tried something that had never been done before: They took out the donor heart. Doctors theorized that the donor heart had allowed Hannah’s heart to rest, recover and grow back stronger.

In 1994 when she was eight-months-old, Hannah was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy — an inflammation of the heart muscle that impairs the heart’s ability to work properly.
Hannah’s heart was failing and she needed a transplant. But instead of taking her own heart out, doctors added a new donated heart to her own when she was just two-years-old.
The so-called “piggyback” operation allowed the donor heart to do the work while Hannah’s heart rested.
But Hannah was not in the clear yet. As with any organ transplant, Hannah’s body was likely to reject her new heart and she had to take powerful immune suppression drugs.
Those drugs allowed her body to accept the donor heart but also led to cancer and yet another medical battle for Hannah that lasted for years.
Nearly 11 years after receiving the extra heart, there was more bad news: The immuno-suppression drugs were no longer working. Hannah’s body was rejecting the donor heart.

Two thing struck me immediately when I read the story.

1.  Not enough publicity goes into perhaps the easiest and most valuable gift anyone can give, an organ donation.  There are many people all over the world just waiting for an organ that can save their life, while there are many more passing away without ever knowing they could have saved some other life even in their death, all because either they were completely unaware of the donor program or because they didn’t feel it was important enough to register their perference while they were alive.  A story like this hopefully hits home the fact that the wonderful donor for this kid was able to save her not once, but twice.  Yes, it is a truly a gift that keeps on giving.

2.  Can you imagine without a national health care system, like this British Health Care that Hannah benefitted from, how difficult it would have been for her parents to afford to keep her alive, unless they were prosperous enough to begin with or were able to keep their insurance coverage via their employment through out the entire process?  It is insane to imagine that as a society, anyone can willfully choose to value life based on how much money one makes.  Capitalism as an economic system is hard to argue against, but how far do you go with it as a social system?

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