Organ Donor Discrimination?
More than 120,000 people in the U.S. are on the organ donor waiting list, and an estimated 18 of them will die every day without receiving a life-saving transplant. A single organ donor can potentially save up to eight lives, but in the case of one deceased donor, controversy has risen regarding why his tissue was deemed ineligible to save any lives.
Three months prior to suffering a sudden and fatal heart attack, 48-year-old Rohn and his partner of eight years, Dan, spearheaded a fundraiser for the Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE); however, after Rohn’s tragic death, his tissue was rejected by CORE, allegedly due to his homosexual lifestyle. The decision was made in accordance with the FDA’s strict guidelines for donor tissue transplantation, which prohibits the eligibility of human tissues from males who have been sexually active with one or more same-sex partners in the five years preceding their deaths.
“Anything on that body was good, and I feel it’s a sin to bury that precious element that somebody else could have benefited from,” Dan says.
Tattoos for Concealing Scars
When Basma was 2 years old, she and her older brother wanted to surprise their parents by cooking them dinner. “He took a frozen chunk of meat and placed it into hot oil,” Basma recalls. “The pan caught fire, and as he tried to take the pan over to the sink, he tripped and spilled the hot oil all over the left side of my face.”
Basma suffered third-degree burns on 40 percent of her face. “My eye was glued shut. I lost my eyebrow and my hair. Everything just completely melted off,” she explains.
Over the next 14 years, Basma underwent nearly 100 surgeries and procedures, including skin grafts, hair transplants, laser resurfacing and an ear reconstruction.When she was 16, Basma's doctor informed her that there was nothing else that could be done to diminish the appearance of her scar tissue. “The moment I heard those words, I told myself that I can’t give up. I have to do whatever it takes to improve it for myself,” Basma says.
Basma trained to become a certified paramedical micropigmentation specialist, and began tattooing her burn scars with hues that matched her skin tone. Basma learned to perfect the technique, and in 2007, she opened the Basma Hameed Clinic to help scar patients across the world regain their confidence.
“Anybody who has a scar or a skin discoloration needs to know that this procedure exists, because it’s changed my life,” she says.
Rev Run’s Health Crusade
Rev Run and his wife, Justine Simmons, recently partnered with Novo Nordisk, a global healthcare company specializing in diabetes care, for Ask.Screen.Know., a national education program that helps American adults assess their risk of Type 2 diabetes through preemptive screening.
Diabetes is a chronic blood glucose disorder that can lead to serious health complications and death if left untreated. While Type 1 diabetes is genetic and not preventable, the far more common Type 2 diabetes can be averted if the disease is detected and treated before it progresses. The prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in America is on the rise, accounting for 90 to 95 percent of diagnosed cases in adults.
Nearly 26 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, approximately 7 million of whom are unaware that they have the disease. In addition, an estimated 79 million Americans aged 20 years or older are pre-diabetics. Risk factors for the disease include obesity, family history, ethnicity, age, physical inactivity and poor dietary habits.
Both Rev Run and Justine have a family history of diabetes, which was the driving force behind their decision to get tested — and to encourage others to learn whether they could be at risk.
“I thought it was my time, my calling from God, to start talking about health,” Rev Run says.
Rev Run and Justine share the simple lifestyle changes they’ve made to reduce their risk of diabetes. Plus, learn three subtle warning signs of the disease.
• Watch Rev Run's Ask.Screen.Know. PSA.
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Watch as Theresa receives a live video chat consultation with allergy specialist Dr. Tania Elliott to discuss her son’s possible allergic reaction to vaccines.
Doctor on Demand is published by Doctor on Demand, Inc., which is owned, in part, by The Doctors’ executive producer, Jay McGraw. Dr. Tania Elliott is a participating physician in Doctor on Demand.
Family’s Search for Life-Saving Donors
Tim and Maggie Murry’s four sons — Sean, 21, Patrick, 17, Danny, 12, and Timmy, 9, — all have Diamond Blackfan anemia, an extremely rare and life-threatening blood disorder. The congenital condition inhibits bone marrow from producing an adequate amount of red blood cells, which are essential for transporting oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Without treatment, unstable amounts of iron accumulate in the body, resulting in blood toxicity, vital organ damage and death.
The only cure for the chronic disease is a bone marrow transplant from a compatible donor. “The life expectancy without a bone marrow transplant is … it’s just difficult to know whether you can survive past your 20s or into your early 30s,” Tim explains.
“I can’t tell you how odd it is to think that you might outlive your kids,” Maggie says.
Danny and Timmy have managed the condition with oral steroids since they were diagnosed as infants. Sean and Patrick, however, were unresponsive to this method of treatment, so they require red blood cell transfusions every three weeks. Additionally, Sean needs to use a specialized pump daily to prevent an overload of iron in his body.
“The cure exists within other people’s bodies,” Tim says. “We’re only one story of thousands — people who are waiting for a phone call that there’s a match. This is a problem unlike so many that we face in our lives. We can fix this. We can fix this, if we love each other enough, and we are willing to help and sign up to be a donor.”
• Register to become a bone marrow donor.