Minorities represent 60% of people who need a transplant

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ROCHESTER, Minn. – Looking at old photos is not always easy for Angel Uddin.

Seventeen years ago, Angel’s husband, Stewart, returned home from martial arts training.

“And had taken to the streets in June, driving with all the kids playing. I opened the garage door, got ready to turn into the driveway, and had a massive heart attack inside his car, ”Uddin said.

Stewart passed away and while in the hospital Angel was approached by hospital staff and asked if she would like to donate Stewart’s organs.

“Well at that point it seemed extremely disrespectful, and I couldn’t believe as brutal as I was and in that moment of tremendous emotion that they would come and ask that type of question,” Uddin said. .

This is not an unusual response.

“Often it’s fear. I don’t want to donate because they are going to cut up my body, ”said Dr. Ty Diwan, transplant specialist at the Mayo Clinic.

The American Medical Association’s guidelines for organ harvesting are detailed, and all healthcare professionals are bound by codes of ethics, regulations, and the law. Diwan says most of the stigma surrounding organ donation is not true.

Uddin ended up deciding that she was wrong about her husband’s organs.

“I missed this opportunity, and very quickly, shortly thereafter, in fact the next day I realized it was a missed opportunity because he would most certainly have been interested in giving the gift of life. “she said.

It’s a missed opportunity that directly impacts Angel’s community.

“60% of patients who need a transplant are a minority, but only 30% donate,” said Diwan.

Successful organ transplants rely on a match of many genetic characteristics, but not on one race.

“It’s not that someone who is black is not going to match someone who is white. It’s just in specific communities, ethnic communities, racial communities, there is a higher probability of these matches, ”said Diwan.

That’s what Uddin wants his community to know.

“It is really essential to help BIPOC to understand the issues that arise and how we can extend and save lives, as we are already grappling with disparities in the health system,” said Uddin.

She knows this is what Stewart would have wanted and helps her stay connected to the man she loved so much.

“Our wedding invitations are always hanging on my bedroom wall because he’s still a very viable part of who I am every day,” she said, “That’s the reason I do it. , because even though I couldn’t donate her organs, her legacy lives on through this stuff.


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