Organ donation kindness saved three lives

WHEN Laurie and Lyn Kane were told the news no parent ever wants to hear — their son had a 4 per cent chance of survival from a devastating car accident — the decision they made changed three lives forever.

The Bayswater couple's son Andrew was 17 and enjoying teenage life. He was about to start his third year as an apprentice, had a new girlfriend and was looking forward to Christmas.

But on December 22, 2005, he was hit by a car while crossing Scoresby Road. He died in The Alfred hospital.

An off-duty nurse, caught in the traffic that built up when Andrew was hit, administered CPR on the scene. It kept the blood flowing to his heart and meant his organs were suitable for donation.

After they were told that Andrew was unlikely to survive, Mr Kane said his wife approached the staff and told them she wanted their son considered for organ donation.

It was something the family had discussed several years before when an advertisement came on the television. "Andrew lived like that; he was generous. He began donating blood on his 16th birthday and in the November before his accident he made his fifth donation. It was always his decision. He was never forced," Mr Kane said.

A day after the accident, the couple were told Andrew had not survived. A Donate Life nurse sat with the Kane family, including their other son Shaun, and talked to them about the organ donation process. "We couldn't understand anything at that stage; she was an angel."

The Donate Life nurse stayed with Andrew during the surgery, as his advocate. "She stayed with him; there was dignity."

Andrew's heart, liver and kidney saved three men's lives that day. The Kane family have received several letters from the recipients since that time.

"We lost Andrew. Nothing could change that. If I could take back all his organs and put him back together, I would, but I really can't. This [donation] represents all the good work our son did," Mr Kane said.

In Victoria last year, there were 92 deceased organ donors — the highest rate in Australia — who provided transplants for 267 people.

Mr Kane urged families to discuss their wishes about organ donation. "If you had a child or a loved one who needed something, you would move heaven and earth to make that happen."

Details: donatelife.gov.au.

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