An Envelope with a Surprise in It

Posted By Sarah Kaufman || 18-Jun-2013

For Clients, Professional Advisors and Community: Very recently, I came home to a strange brown envelope from Lutheran General Hospital. It wasn’t a bill or a lab report. It was from “Medical Records” and was hand addressed. I couldn’t figure out what it might be. My only encounter with Lutheran General this year was when I had revision surgery on my left foot.
I opened it to find a cover sheet stating they were sending me something I should have received while in the hospital. I then pulled out a brochure entitled, “Contacting Your Donor Family”. I lost my breath for just a couple of seconds. I knew that the plan was to put a tissue graft in my foot. It never occurred to me that it might come from a donor. Tissue material has to come from somewhere! Mine came from a deceased individual unknown to me who had the foresight (or whose family had the kindness) to become a tissue and organ donor.
Here I am – an attorney who deals with the topic of organ donation every day. Every time I have a client sign a healthcare power of attorney, we talk about organ donation. I am constantly focused on those of my clients who need kidneys, livers and other organs critical to the miracle of human life. But, I never thought I would be the recipient of a tissue donation for my foot!
So, to the family of whomever you are: Thank you and bless you. Your kindness is remembered. The tissue of your loved one lives on. It enables me to walk.
To my clients, professional advisors and friends: This is an important reminder. Everyone is entitled to their own personal wishes in this area. I do not wish to persuade anyone whether they should become an organ donor. That is a very personal decision that should be made with care and contemplation.
But, if you do decide to become an organ donor, please make sure it is so indicated on your drivers’ license. Also, do two more things: Register at It is the official registry of Secretary of State Jesse White. It takes two
Most families don’t think about powers of attorney for their family members who are 18-26 years of age. College Students and single adult children should have health care and property powers of attorney. This is the time of year when college students tend to be home. We want the children of our clients to be protected. Parents should be free from worry if something does happen to one of their children. Planning and drafting of durable powers of attorney for your unmarried children to age 30 are included at no cost for client families who are members of our Family Lifetime Care Plan. Please call our office to find out about the plan or set up an appointment.

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