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Deaths from COVID-19 cause a rise in organ donations

Deaths from COVID-19 cause a rise in organ donations

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Kansas man died of COVID-19 but donated his kidneys, saving two lives.

Since the start of the pandemic, the Midwest Transplant Network has said it is one of the reasons they have a increase in donations.

Danny Baker, 28, was from Manhattan, Kansas, but was on a ventilator in his last days at St. Luke’s in the Plaza. His wife, Aubrea, said he was an organ donor and would like to know that if he had to die, others could live.

In their five years together, Aubrea said Danny gave her enough love to last a lifetime.

“He’s just so caring. And he’d do anything for me. And we loved going shopping together. Just everyday things,” Baker said.

In 2021, the Bakers celebrated four years of marriage and the birth of their daughter Haylen.

“She was all his world,” Baker said.

In August, what he thought was a sinus infection turned out to be COVID-19. Danny struggled through it and was eventually moved from Manhattan to Kansas City, Missouri and placed on a ventilator.

“I never gave up. I never thought he was going to die, I never even thought that once,” Baker said.

Danny died on September 14, but his kidneys saved the lives of two people he never met.

“He was super proud to be an organ donor,” Baker said.

Partly as a result of the pandemic, the Midwest Transplant Network said they have seen an increase in organ donations.

Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Lori Markham, says their success in donation rates is also due to a growing registry, their communication and relationship with hospitals, and advances in organ preservation technology.

Early in the pandemic, Markham said it was unclear whether organs could be used for transplantation at all.

“When the pandemic started almost two years ago, people who died from COVID could not become donors. And that has changed,” says Markham.

She said doctors were able to determine through research that many organs could be transplanted after a person had COVID. It’s like when someone dies from the flu, their organs are not affected for transplantation.

It is however not possible to transplant lungs of a COVID-19 patient because of the way the virus affects them. Each donation case is individually assessed to see if organ donation is possible.

“We had a record number of organ donors in 2021, compared to the previous year, and some of that is due to the COVID,” Markham said.

In 2021, the transplant network had forty more donations than in 2020.

Baker’s kidney donation saved a 57-year-old man and a 49-year-old woman. One in the Midwest and the other on the East Coast.

“These people had been on the dialysis list for almost two years and to be able to resume their normal lives without being tied to a machine and be able to live and function with their families, everyday life that is invaluable. is. Baker said. “I’m at peace with the knowledge that he’s still with me.”

Despite there being more donors during this time, the Midwest Transplant Network said the need is still great. They encourage anyone who can to become an organ donor. You can register online at become an organ donor in Kansas and to become an organ donor in Missouri.

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