Oregon organ donation: Woman’s life saved by a transplant in the last moment

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On July 8, 2014, Cindy McIntyre was dying.

She was in the intensive care unit of Oregon Health and Sciences University, suffering from congestive heart failure and fading fast. The 57-year-old Hermiston woman had already had her “final conversation” with her sons. Steve, her husband of 39 years, was glued to her side, and now her sisters were there, too.

“I thought, ‘Oh that’s nice they’re here for a visit,’” she said. “Later I found out they were there for Steve because everyone knew it was just hours before I was going to expire.”

Instead, a miracle happened.

“The doctor said, ‘How would you like a transplant tonight?” she said.

Twenty-two people in the United States die each day waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, but Cindy was not going to be one of them. A life had ended somewhere that day, and the deceased had been an organ donor.

Steve said the transplant was cutting it so close that the surgeons didn’t even have time to attach all of the nerves in his wife’s chest, like they usually would, leaving her with some lingering numbness and cold issues.

“They were already starting to take her heart out while the other heart was being prepped,” he said.

Later, the couple found out that a Umatilla man had been on the transplant list ahead of Cindy but had agreed to give her the heart available that day, rolling the dice on his life in order to save hers. He received a transplant of his own a month later.

Cindy said she has become an advocate for organ donation. On Wednesday in Enterprise she gave her first school presentation for Donate Life NW.

Read the full story here.

If you wish to become a registered organ donor in Oregon, please register on our Oregon organ donation page.

Source: East Oregonian

Photo source: East Oregonian