St Teresa of Avila is credited with the saying that “there are more tears shed over answered prayers than over unanswered ones”.
On this the last day of 2009, I’m pondering the truth of this saying. Consider John F Kennedy. The Kennedys must all have prayed for him to be elected president of the United States in 1960.
What a victory for the Catholic faith and what prestige for the predominant Catholic family to have a son become the first Catholic president in a nation founded mainly by Protestants!
Yet barely three years later he was assasinated — on Nov 22, 1963. One newspaper obit had a poignant line for him — “Yesterday he was president, today he belongs to the ages”.
Perhaps he would have lived — and might still be alive today — if those who prayed for him to be president had their prayers gone unanswered.
With this preamble, I would like to share a little story….
The mother is canvassing every senior relative who visited at the ICU. In a calm voice, she asks: “What do you think of organ donation?”
Most, if not all, find it difficult to give a straight reply, whether to confirm or confound what she is contemplating. Some parry by saying why talk about such things at this stage? Others say they don’t think about the issue at all. All add: As the parent, you have every right to decide.
Decide for? Decide against? Fact is: all the senior relatives canvassed are beyond the reach of Singapore’s Human Organ Transplant Act. They are too old.
The young patient is declared brain-dead on Dec XX, at Y.YYpm. By law, the hospital can’t treat a dead patient.The parents give consent. Seven persons benefit from the harvest. Two corneas. Two kidneys. One heart cum lungs. One liver split between two.
The families of the seven beneficiaries end 2008 with new hopes, a new future. No tears for them, except perhaps tears of joy.
At the other side of the ledger, there have been tears, and more tears will flow till time and tiredness dim memories…
Someone in good health has to die to provide the healthy organs to replace those dying with sick ones.
May 2009 bring a greater move towards live organ donors. Let us not be squeamish about this or the compensation involved in seeking such sacrifice.
For organs which can’t come from a living organ donor, then let there be greater research so that there can be artificial replacements or replacements that come from lower orders in the animal kingdom.