St. Petersburg Times Online: News of the Tampa Bay area
TampaBay.com
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
  • An icky infestation
  • Grouper ban is now over
  • Tarpon Springs knew of arsenic
  • Tampa to test park for arsenic
  • Tampa Bay briefs
  • Boy's organs used for transplants
  • Busing in Pinellas County to expand
  • Hudson man charged with bilking two women
  • 2 Pinellas jail officials receive reprimands
  • Presbyterian Church vote rejects ban on gay unions

  • tampabay.com
    Back

    printer version

    Boy's organs used for transplants

    The Colombian boy, who died after a brain operation, has his heart, liver, kidneys and cornea harvested for transplants.

    By MIKE BRASSFIELD

    © St. Petersburg Times, published March 15, 2001


    TAMPA -- With his brain growing outside his skull, 7-year-old John Esteban Martinez never had a chance at life.

    Thanks to him and his organs, four strangers will get their chance.

    After the Colombian boy died, his parents agreed to donate his heart, liver, kidneys and a cornea for organ transplants.

    "Four people will live because the parents said yes. Four people are going to benefit from these tremendous gifts," said Ruth Duncan Bell, a spokeswoman for LifeLink of Florida, a non-profit group that procures organs.

    John had a dangerous and disfiguring birth defect that slowed his mental development. His parents brought him to Tampa for a risky operation to return his brain to his skull and reconstruct his face.

    He underwent surgery Thursday at Tampa Children's Hospital at St. Joseph's.

    The operation appeared to be a success, but John's condition deteriorated over the weekend and by Tuesday morning he was brain dead.

    Each year, about 15,000 brain deaths occur in the United States; the brain permanently stops functioning while the heart and lungs keep going.

    Only 30 percent of those people become organ donors, according to LifeLink.

    Waiting lists for organ transplants are long. Nearly 2,700 people in Florida are waiting, and more than 75,000 people throughout the country. Nearly two-thirds of them are waiting for kidneys.

    Bell said John's organs are going to three people in the southeastern United States and one person in the West.

    Back to Tampa Bay area news
    Back
    Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
     
    Special Links
    Mary Jo Melone
    Howard Troxler


    Headlines
    From the Times
    local news desks