American donates organs to Koreans

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American donates organs to Koreans


Linda R. Freel

The family of a 52-year-old American teacher pronounced brain dead while living in Korea donated her organs to several South Korean patients last week in the nation’s first such case, hospital officials said yesterday.

Linda R. Freel collapsed from a sudden cerebral hemorrhage last Thursday while teaching students at the International Christian School in Uijeongbu, Gyeonggi, and was declared brain dead at a Seoul hospital. One day later, Rex Freel, her husband and headmaster of the school, expressed his will to donate her organs according to her wishes, and her body was transferred to Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital in southern Seoul, hospital officials said.

After a four-hour surgery, doctors harvested her liver, kidneys, corneas, bone tissues and skin, which were immediately transplanted into two kidney patients, one patient with a liver problem and two patients who lost their sight, officials said.

Freel’s skin was stored for later use.

The organ recipients are now recovering, they added.

The couple came to South Korea 14 years ago and has worked on Christian missions and taught students at the Christian school, a school official said, noting that the widower cannot be reached for comment.

Because organ viability decreases the longer a patient is brain dead, the family’s quick decision was critical to successfully transplant the organs into other patients, said Yang Cheol-woo, a senior doctor at the transplant center in the Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital.

Yang noted that Freel was the first Westerner to donate her organs in Korea.

“While 35 of 1 million Americans donate their organs, five of 1 million South Koreans do so, leading to a shortage of organ donations here,” Yang said. “Linda Freel’s donation will contribute to letting others learn about the noble spirit of sharing life.”


Related Korean Article [중앙일보]

5명에게 ‘새 삶’주고 간 린다 선생님
뇌사 빠진 52세 미국인 교사, 서양인으로 국내 첫 장기기증

한국을 ‘제2의 고향’으로 여기고 살던 미국인 여성이 뇌사 상태에 빠지자 자신의 장기를 한국인들에게 기증하고 생을 마쳤다. 국내에서 뇌사 상태의 서양인이 장기를 기증한 것은 처음이다. 100만 명당 장기기증자가 미국에서는 35명에 달하지만 한국은 5명에 불과한 현실에서 잔잔한 감동을 주고 있다.

25일 서울성모병원에 따르면 경기도 의정부 소재 국제크리스찬외국인학교 교사인 미국인 린다 프릴(Linda Freel·52·사진)은 지난 20일 수업 도중 뇌출혈로 쓰러져 병원으로 옮겨졌지만 뇌사 판정을 받았다.

같은 학교 교장인 남편 렉스 프릴은 부인의 뇌사 하루 만에 장기기증을 결심했다. 14년 전 함께 한국에 와 교육·선교 사업에 힘써 온 부인의 평소 뜻에 따른 것이다. 프릴은 21일 오후 간·신장·각막 등에 대한 장기적출 수술을 받고 이튿날 새벽 영면했다.

고인의 신장은 적출 즉시 두 명의 만성신장질환자에게, 간은 간 질환자에게, 각막 2개는 각막혼탁 환자들에게 각각 이식됐다. 프릴의 뼈·피부조직은 뼈의 길이가 짧거나 화상을 입은 환자 등에게 이식하기 위해 보관 중이다. 고인의 장기기증을 통해 새 삶을 얻은 환자들은 빠른 속도로 회복 중이며 건강상태도 양호하다. …

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