Organ donor recipient talks about gift of life
The John C. McDonald Regional Transplant Center has performed more than 2,000 organ transplants since the program’s inception in 1977.
Bossier City resident Scott Tabler is one of those patients whose life has been impacted by this facility. After a series of medical issues, Tabler found himself relying on dialysis for six years, going in late at night or early in the morning for treatment.
In general, a kidney transplant prolongs survival and provides a better quality of life compared to remaining on dialysis. Tabler’s life changing surgery came in May 2013.
“My kidney came from a guy who had been in a motorcycle accident. He was in a coma and his family was told he was brain dead,” Tabler said.
Tabler said the surgery has given him more freedom.
“If I want to go on a trip, I could leave today without worrying about finding a dialysis center where I was going,” he said. “I’m not going to say I’d be dead right now if it wasn’t for the transplant, but I would’ve been on dialysis for the rest of my life.”
But he also lives with survivor’s guilt.
“For me to live comfortably, someone passed away,” Tabler said. “I don’t know who the person was or who his family is. Because of their loss, I was blessed. That’s a weird feeling.”
The John C. McDonald Regional Transplant Center held its annual Christmas party last week, giving more than 200 donors, recipients and physicians a chance to gather and celebrate life.
Corey King, Transplant Administrator, said the long hours and rough days are worth it to see how many people have been blessed by the transplant center.
“I see happiness and a better quality of life,” King said, looking around the room. “This is a way for us to see how many miracles have happened.”
The John C. McDonald Regional Transplant Center is the only transplant center in north Louisiana, drawing patients from the Ark-La-Tex and beyond. King stressed the importance of being an organ donor.
“Those who donate are heroes, In the spirit of Chritmas, they are truly angels,” he said. “A person on a transplant list could wait years before finding a match. Some even die waiting because there aren’t enough organ donors. If more people would donate, the lists would be shorter and lives would be longer.”
Tabler also wants others to see the importance of being a donor.
“To those that donate, thank you. Someone’s life counts on it,” he said. “It never donned on me what organ donation really meant until I was on the other side. I appreciate my life.”
For more information on the John C. McDonald Regional Transplant Center or to find out how to become an organ donor, visit www.wkhs.com/Transplant.