Even in his death, Trooper Steven Vincent is giving the ultimate gift, life, to people desperately waiting on organs and healthy tissue by becoming a donor.
The day before Trooper Vincent was shot, he ran a marathon. He was the model of tip-top health.
In becoming an organ donor, he is transforming the health of those dependent on a stranger’s generosity. That is something Louisiana State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson acknowledged publicly. “Trooper Steven Vincent just continues to keep giving,” he said, “He’s donated his organs, his very healthy organs that someone around this country will receive.”
The Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency, or LOPA, flag was raised outside Lake Charles Memorial Hospital Monday while transplant teams were with Trooper Vincent. For two days, they worked to retrieve organs and tissue, then connect those donations with people in the most need, explains LOPA community educator, Suzanna Morton. “They all have a very short amount of time, so once the recovery begins, it’s actually pretty quick. Really the time-consuming part is finding the matches, coordinating the recovery teams to come in, scheduling the operating room,” she said.
It is a busy, around-the-clock process, and one that can save nine lives through one donor. “You can actually save the lives of potentially nine people,” said Morton. “We recover heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas and small intestines. You have two kidneys, two lungs, and the liver can actually be split and shared with two people.”
Tissue donation can enhance 100 lives. Cornea donations provide a literal new look at the world. “If you donate your corneas, you can give sight to two people,” said Morton.
While the recovery process is extensive, Morton says it is important people know it does not impact the options for final viewing. “There is no disfigurement to the body for organs, tissue, or cornea donors,” she said. “So even if you are a full donor – organs, tissue, and corneas – there is no disfigurement to the body. You can still have an open casket funeral.”
More donors are needed in the registry, as 123,000 people in the U.S. wait today on organ transplant lists. But this week, the trooper who gave his life in service to our community gives life after death to some of those waiting on a hero.
If you want to register to become an organ donor, click here. You can also sign up at the Office of Motor Vehicles.
As of July 27, 2015 – – – 123,549 AMERICANS ARE CANDIDATES ON THE UNOS TRANSPLANT WAIT LIST
101,169 waiting for a kidney 15,217 wait-listed for a liver 1,056 waiting for a pancreas 1,973 needing a Kidney-Pancreas 4,153 waiting for a life-saving heart 1,549 waiting for a lung 45 waiting for a heart-lung 254 waiting for small bowel