Life and Death in the Organ Queue | Letters | Chicago Reader

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Life and Death in the Organ Queue


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To the editors:

Last October I wrote a story about three people waiting for organ transplants: Rose Brooks, who needs a pancreas and a kidney; Gary Isenogle, who needed a liver; and Dick Jackson, who needed a heart. Readers of that story might be interested in knowing that Isenogle, who had been waiting for a liver since the beginning of 1990, died right before Christmas and Jackson, who had been on a heart-transplant waiting list since the summer of 1986, died soon after Christmas.

Brooks is still alive. But she's been waiting for a kidney and pancreas since 1987.

At the end of last year, the Regional Organ Bank of Illinois (ROBI) reported that the number of people waiting for organs went up 22 percent in Illinois, while the number of donors increased by 10 percent. And as of January 1, 22,000 people nationwide were on organ waiting lists--992 of those in Illinois. ROBI also reported that one-third to one-half of these people will die before they get organs.

Becoming a donor by signing the back of your driver's license can save someone's life. Letting your family and friends know of your intent can help a lot too. Organs in a grave don't do anyone any good.

Brenda Wilhelmson

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