All over the world, in every country, there are families desperately waiting for a loved one to receive an organ donation. The bitter irony of the matter is that when they get their wish, it’s only because another family has been torn apart by a loss.
It’s probably for this reason that organ donation remains a sensitive subject. Agreeing to be an organ donor means potentially giving the gift of life to someone else, though that’s not always an comfortable pill for the family of said donor to swallow.
Medical professionals at St. Luke’s Meridian Medical Center, Idaho, know all to well how hard it can be for people to sign off on giving their loved one’s organs to someone else.
Of course, the flip side is that they’re also there to see what it means to the family of the person receiving a much-needed donation. A tradition at this particular hospital has caused quite the stir online recently, for the way hospital staff pay their respects to organ donors being wheeled down the hallway.
They call it the “Walk of Respect”, and photos of this celebration of life have gone viral. Hospital staff line the corridor stretching between the intensive care unit and the elevator to pay their last respects to someone giving their organs to someone in need.
The tradition was started a couple of years ago by the intensive care director at St. Luke’s, Deb Compton. Now, it’s caught on in other places, too, as per the St. Luke’s website:
“Family and friends of those who gave the ultimate gift of life are appreciative of the demonstration of respect and compassion from staff. During a particularly moving Walk of Respect in Magic Valley, the wife of a donor was overheard telling her two young children, ‘This is your father’s hero welcome into heaven.’
“For these families and loved ones, the Walk of Respect leaves a lasting impression and hopefully provides a moment of peace among the grief. Not only is it a valued process for loved ones, it also provides comfort and a moment for the patient’s care team to reflect on their own feelings.”
Facebook user Lara Leigh Vick commented on the post, stating that her brother Paul had donated his organs. As his sister, it was a trying time for her, but as a nurse she knew it was the right thing.
“As a healthy organ donor, we know (as a family) that Paul has saved numerous lives through his death. As an RN myself, that is a bittersweet moment, knowing my brother has helped others live…I still miss my brother who died too early.”
You can watch the “Walk of Respect” at St. Luke’s in the epic video below:
Well, that certainly had me reaching for the tissues. Organ donation continues to give people a second chance at life, and there’s nothing more inspirational than that.
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