The Rest of a Remarkable Story on Love

by Joe Martin

The Evening Sun
Saturday, August 22, 1992

Remember the epigram I quoted three weeks ago in connection with Paul and Dorothy Shriver's decision to allow their son's vital organs to be transplanted after he had died following an automobile accident?

"After the verb 'To Love', 'To help' is the most beautiful verb in the world!"

Well, those words once again raced through my head after receiving additional profile information regarding the individuals fortunate enough to benefit from Douglas Shriver's vital organs - his gifts of "love and help."

At the time the first column was written only sketchy information was available on three of the five recipients. Today's effort will give you "the rest of story" as Paul Harvey is wont to say.

Doug's liver was transplanted to a woman in Pittsburgh who had worked as a bookkeeper. At the time of the transplant she was very ill in the intensive care unit and not expected to live more than a few days without a transplant.

It is not known what caused her liver failure. However, although she remains very ill the "new" liver is functioning very well and the surgeons are optimistic there will be a full recovery.

Although life has stopped in one, it can still go on in another.

One of Doug's kidneys was transplanted to a gentleman from Philadelphia. He is married, and before he became disabled from kidney failure he worked as a realtor. He had been on dialysis for three years and waiting for a transplant for two years.

Now, thanks to Doug's gift, he no longer requires dialysis and his "new" kidney is functioning normally. He hopes to be able to return to work shortly.

What greater gift could one possibly receive? I know of none!

Beth Sturgill, the transplant coordinator for the Delaware Valley Program, who handled the Shriver case, also included in her report to Dorothy and Paul, more detailed information on the other three lucky recipients.

The heart transplant patient is a 46 year old single gentleman who worked as a machinist in Delaware. He had been suffering severe artery disease and had been waiting nearly a year for a transplant.

As we said, he is doing very well and in all probability will be home by the time this is published. I'll bet Doug is smiling about now!

The other kidney and pancreas were transplanted to a 30 year old woman. That we knew. What we didn't know before is that she is an accountant who had diabetes and been waiting for a transplant for several months.

Since the transplant she has done very well and no longer needs insulin; her "new" kidney function is also normal. She, too, is home by now. Marvelous.

Finally the cornea was transplanted to a 31 year old patient who lost vision due to an infection of the cornea. The transplant went very well and the patient is regaining the "precious gift of sight." Nothing more need be said. The Shriver story, in my book, is the perfect example of "love and help."

We have a bumper sticker that says it all. It reads: "Don't take your organs to Heaven. Heaven knows we need them here."


This article appears on TransWeb by permission of the author, Joe Martin. All rights reserved.

Return to Faith Taylor's story or read Joe Martin's other articles, Three Magnificient Examples of Love" and "People, Places, and Things" (four and a half years later).