By Talia Kupferman
When interviewed for Statnews.com on April 22, David Mulligan, Chief of Transplantation Surgery and Immunology at Yale, explained the difficult balance and decisions to be made when treating and approaching organ donations during this time of COVID-19. He said, “Our ability to do a liver transplant is not always just about the [risk of COVID-19] exposure to the patient…It’s also, do we have a bed? Do we have a ventilator to take care of the patient? Can we isolate the patient from other COVID-infected patients? Do we have enough time to do this operation, get them through it, keep them away from COVID, and then get them out of the hospital safely? That’s what we’re shooting for.”
On the National Kidney Foundation’s website, they listed over 20 questions that patients might have regarding transplants during COVID-19. These are questions of fears and anxieties that thousands of people are confronting every day. These questions range from whether or not there will be a drug shortage, to if those who passed due to COVID-19 are eligible to be organ donors.
This time is filled with such uncertainty and worry. It is difficult for many people to plan for the future by simply “going with the flow.” As I am graduating from Stern College in May, I know my personal plans and job opportunities for next year are “frozen” due to many hiring freezes. Through this time, I learned that it is okay to change your plans, expand your ideas you had for the upcoming year, and to maybe use this time to think of what will really bring you joy during the next year. That being said, there are many resources available to help others without leaving your home during this time and going forward. One of those ways includes signing up for an organ donor card. Along with the many uncertain and tentative days to come, the hope of people who are waiting for an organ has drastically diminished as their chances of receiving a healthy organ and transplanting it in a COVID-free hospital have plummeted.
Even as our lives might slowly be getting back to normal, the thousands of people on the waiting list for a life-saving organ transplant will still be in quarantine, waiting. Signing up to be a halachic organ donor through Halachic Organ Donation Society (HODS) is an incredible and commendable act to take, especially now. I would like to highlight someone in the YU community who has stepped up and signed up for a halachic organ donor card during this time, Adi Ronen, SCW ’21. I asked Adi why she thought it was important to specifically sign up for an organ donor card now and she said the following, “During times like these where we can feel so useless at home, it is amazing to sign up for something as important and meaningful as being a halachic organ donor.” Join Adi and many other incredible people who have taken this opportunity to sign up for a halachic organ donor card and have proved that you can take small miraculous steps to help others during COVID-19.
To sign up to be a Halachic Organ Donor, register here: https://hods.org/registration/