Caring for Donors
Maintaining the dead means knowing how to care for the living. John Lilley, transplant coordinator with the California Transplant Donor Network, worked as a firefighter and a paramedic before joining CTDN. Although he is cross-trained in family services, most of his time is spent maintaining deceased donors. He follows the donor from the time of consent to the operating room where organs are recovered.
Lilley knows about the rewards of transplantation. In 1998, his father recieved a successful heart transplant. He says he rarely mentions his father's condition and transplant when he meets with donor families.
"Sometimes I tell families after they have consented, but not before that," Lilley says. "I feel as if I am bringing up something that takes away from their sorrow."
©2003 Gina Comparini