Sunday, May 24, 2009

Directed donation works for Natalie Cole

Natalie Cole, the famous singer, has received a kidney transplant through directed donation. This is the process that LifeSharers members use to give their organs to other LifeSharers members.

Here are some details from a news release issued by OneLegacy:
OneLegacy, the non-profit, federally designated organ and tissue recovery organization serving the seven-county greater Los Angeles area as part of the national organ transplantation network, facilitated the transplant of a kidney to Natalie Cole via a directed donation from a deceased donor.

"As stewards of the organ donation process, OneLegacy collaborates with area hospitals to support families facing the loss of a loved one," said Tom Mone, OneLegacy CEO and Executive Vice President. "One such family generously agreed to donate organs to people in need of a life-saving transplant. Having heard of Ms. Cole's need for a kidney, the family asked that one of their loved one's kidneys be transplanted to Ms. Cole if they were a match."

In accordance with the family's request, OneLegacy donation coordinators then determined through tests that the kidney would be a biological match for Ms. Cole and coordinated the recovery process.

Directed donation is a specific request made by a donor or donor family to direct a recovered organ to a specific transplant recipient. While rare, this practice is recognized by the California Uniform Anatomical Gift Act (UAGA) and occurs most frequently when the donor or donor family are related to the recipient or know the recipient personally.

In a 2006 story on CNN, a OneLegacy representative criticized LifeSharers' use of directed donation, saying "any time you work outside of the established allocation process, you're not necessarily giving the organs to people that are most in need." Now in 2009, OneLegacy's CEO praises the generosity of the family that used directed donation to help Natalie Cole. Was Natalie Cole the person most in need? No, but it was the donor family's legal right to give her their loved one's kidney.

What does the Natalie Cole case prove? It proves that directed donation is legal. It's legal whether organ procurement organizations like it or not, and it's legal whether the recipient is a celebrity or not. Directed donation as practiced by LifeSharers members is legal under federal law and under the laws of all 50 states.

If you'd like to donate your organs to other organ donors, please join LifeSharers at

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