More urged to offer “the gift of life”

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – David Haskell still has his brother today, thanks to one person’s generous decision to become an organ donor, and ultimately give their kidney to a stranger.

“Very, very scary because he was on the list for almost two years. It was very hard to wait. You’ve just got to pray to God you’ll find one,” Haskell said.

Last year, organ donors saved the lives of more than 640 people in New England. But currently across the country, there are more than 120,000 people on the transplant list awaiting life-saving donations.

Now, state health leaders are asking people who live in Massachusetts to consider becoming an organ donor, and potentially keep someone’s spouse, parent, child, or friend alive.

Some people who have said ‘no’ to organ donation have misconceptions about the decision — that their religious beliefs don’t allow it, or that doctors might stop taking care of them in an emergency in order to get their organs.

Dr. Ronald Gross, Chief of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery at Baystate Medical Center, told 22News that this does not happen.

“It couldn’t be any further from the truth. We all raised our hands and took that Hippocratic oath. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’ve been, we will take care of you with everything we know how,” Gross said.

The loss of a loved one is devastating for any family, but Dr. Gross told 22News many grieving families find peace in knowing their organ donation kept another family together.

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