Guest blogger Aubrie Butler is a Hospital Services Coordinator at Southwest Transplant Alliance
Hospitals across the United States are holding honor walks to show respect to patients at the end of life who are donating organs to others.
With the consent of loved ones, and with the operating room ready for organ donation to begin, hospital leadership invites all staff members to participate. An honor walk is a powerful act of community. Something solemn, even sacred, happens in those 15 minutes in the hallway. We wait and talk with people from all professions and all walks of life. Together, we honor a great sacrifice. We give thanks. We hope to help a grieving family in a moment of fathomless loss.
I recently had the honor and privilege to attend and support an Honor Walk at Baylor University Medical Center-Dallas. I find myself very vested in the task of supporting these walks as to best honor the donor and the family in this last selfless act. The hospital’s goal is to make sure they are respected, well attended, and honored as the hero they are. This particular gentleman was a loved employee of Baylor and had many co-workers, friends, and family who also were very vested in this walk.
Prior to this tragedy, the donor had scrubbed in on previous cases with STA. Just three months prior to his accident, he had registered to become an organ donor and had shared that with many co-workers and family. The honor walk was on a Saturday and attended by approximately 200 family members, co-workers, and friends. It was a very emotional, beautiful walk with not a dry eye in the crowd. The most touching of all was the sheer happiness of his mother who, at the door to the operating room, looked into the line of people and shouted, “Hallelujah, we did it, he is a hero!”
I have had several of his co-workers reach out to me after the walk to tell me they too have now changed their status to be an organ donor, and his family included his status as an organ donor in his obituary. I am extremely humbled and honored every day to do the work I do and to play a small part in saving lives. You can register your decision to be an organ, eye, and tissue donor at DonateLifeTexas.org.