Get Started
Get Started

Health & Exercise Forum

Organ Donation Part 1: Register to be an organ donor, ties to NEPA

Dec 18, 2017
Michael Morgan, MD3

Michael Morgan, MD3

Register to be an organ donor, Organ Donation – and ties to NEPA: Part 1 of 2


Michael Morgan is a 3rd year medical student at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. He attended Scranton Prep and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Pittsburgh earning a Bachelor of Science in Finance with minors in Chemistry and Economics. Although he is exploring all future options in clinical rotations, he is currently interested in pursuing a career in surgery or anesthesia. He plans on practicing in the Scranton area upon the completion of his training. Interests include relaxing with family and friends, traveling, and clinical research.

Mike is a member of the Cody Barrasse Memorial Foundation, American Medical Association and American College of Emergency Physicians.

This is the season of giving. Finding the right gift in a land of plenty can be challenging for those fortunate enough to be well-fed and clothed. While there may be many wants and needs we have this holiday season, consider a different kind of gift...GIVE THE GIFT OF LIFE! BECOME AN ORGAN DONOR!

On December 23rd, 1954 the term ‘modern medicine’ was redefined. At Brigham Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, Dr. Joseph Murray and his team performed the first successful living-related kidney transplant on identical twin brothers. Eight years later the same team was able to successfully transplant a kidney from a deceased donor. For the very first time medically, there was life after death. At a rapid pace across the country, brazen surgeons and their colleagues altered the medical landscape by performing heart, lung, and liver transplants. Necessary complimentary immunosuppressive therapies were developed along the way. These medicines extended the lifespan of existing transplants, and also led way to other, more aggressive procedures. Over time, surgical techniques were refined and more lifesaving drugs were discovered. This data was then optimized and shared among providers to establish a novel lifesaving procedure that would go on to affect millions of patients and their families – organ transplantation.

Locally, the limitless potential of organ transplantation was experienced following the untimely death of Cody Barrasse in 2013. Cody was just 22 years old when he died following a head injury that he sustained after being struck by a car as a pedestrian while visiting friends in Pittsburgh. Cody had a unique and special spirit that is actively celebrated by all who knew him. However, the patients who received his vital organs truly understand the gravity of what it means to be an organ donor. Nine different people and their families can celebrate life today because of one selfless decision made by Cody. He gave 9 organs and tissues to 7 different people including: a heart to a nine year old, part of his liver to an 18 month old and the other part to a middle-age woman, one kidney to a women and the other kidney, along with his pancreas, to a 12 year old. He also gave his cornea and skin to improve the lives of complete strangers. There is no price tag for the bride who was able to have her father walk her down the aisle because he had received Cody’s lungs. The kindergartener who received part of his liver doesn’t remember the lifesaving transplant she had at 18 months, but her family sure does. Because of the incredible advancements in organ transplantation, diagnoses that once meant certain death now carry a glimmer of hope. Positives can be created out of tragedy with proper planning. Making the decision to become an organ donor, like Cody, can be the first step. For more information or to learn how you can become more involved in organ donation, please visit
For many, the thought of being an organ donor is a difficult concept to grasp. It can be an uncomfortable and unsettling conversation. There are many myths and misconceptions that surround organ donation which can make one’s decision even more perplexing. By dispelling some of the most common myths, and by making credible resources available, the hope is that the most informed decisions can be made and that others can be positively impacted when the unexpected strikes. Next week’s column will address questions that are asked by people every day like: Does my decision to become an organ donor affect the quality of my medical care? (It doesn’t.)

Medical Contributor: Linda Barrasse, MD

For more information or to learn how you can become more involved in organ donation, please visit


Organ Donation
Visit your doctor regularly and listen to your body.

NEXT MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!” Organ Donation – Part 2 of 2.
This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email:
Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (formerly The Commowealth Medical College).