Give to Live: How My Son Saved 54 Lives

Author: Amy Deubler Foy, Mother of former UMC patient Cameron Dice 

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On Sunday, March 11, my son, Cameron Dice, was riding his 4-wheeler across a piece of land near our home until it flipped over on him and crushed his skull. He was brought by ambulance to a small hospital in Franklinton, LA and from there, he was air lifted by helicopter to University Medical Center New Orleans. Upon arrival, he was on a ventilator and the outlook did not look very promising, but still, we prayed for a miracle to happen.

He arrived at UMC Sunday afternoon around 3 p.m. Their amazing nurses and doctors worked on him to try and save his life. But, unfortunately, the damage to his brain was too severe and there was little that they could do. On Monday night, March 12 at 7:28 pm, at the age of 19, he was legally pronounced dead.

My family and I made the decision prior to the final apnea test that would determine whether his brain had any activity:

If Cameron did not have any chance at survival, we wanted him to be an organ donor. 

This was a decision that Cameron had made not long before his accident –  just 2 years prior at the DMV when he received his driver’s license.

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The decision to save other’s lives when yours cannot be saved seems, to me, to be the only decision. I stand firm in this decision even more so now after Cameron’s death. Why would you not want to save someone else’s child, mother, father, brother, sister, etc.?

Cameron becoming an organ donor was not only the right decision for others, but it also gave me 50 more hours to hold his hand, kiss him, stroke his hair and tell him everything I needed to tell him before he was taken into surgery.

Those 4 days were the absolute hardest days I have ever experienced, but that little bit of extra time has made the pain of all this a little easier. I am so grateful that I had those days to just hold my baby and tell him goodbye.

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If Cameron would have been on the other side, needing a transplant for an organ to save his life, I would hope and pray that others would give the gift of life to save my baby.

My Cameron, my angel, now lives in 54 different people between his organs, bones, skin, muscles, tendons, veins, arteries, etc. 

While he was here on earth, he touched so many people’s hearts and lives and now that he has passed on, he still is doing the same.

I cannot explain how proud I am that my baby is truly a hero to these people that now have a chance at life because of Cameron. There is little to no comfort that anyone can provide to a mother that loses their child, but knowing that my baby is still around me physically walking around in all of these people helps tremendously.

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If you are an organ or tissue recipient, please – I beg you – reach out to the family who saved your life.  I pray for the day to meet the people that my child now lives through!

There is no reason, in my eyes, for people to not be an organ donor.  If you can save another person from going through the pain that my family is enduring, why wouldn’t you?

The people with LOPA (Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency) were absolutely amazing.  Everyone was very considerate of me and my family the whole time while they prepared Cameron for his surgery.  They have kept in touch with me and have offered me support with their kind words.

I just received a letter from them giving me the sex and age bracket that Cameron’s major organs went to. I pray to meet every single one of them!!

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April is National Donate Life Month, which honors organ, tissue and eye donors and their loved ones. One organ donor can save the lives of up to nine people.  

At University Medical Center, our dedicated professionals have helped, in coordination with LOPA, to save the lives of over 95 organ recipients in the past year.

Please join us on April 16 at 1:30 p.m. near the flagpole at UMC’s Galvez Street entrance for a LOPA flag-raising and butterfly release to honor the silent heroes at UMC and their families.

Seat Safety is #HowWeSonic

Author: Bridget Gardner, RN, UMC Level 1 Trauma Center Injury Prevention Director 

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Every three minutes.

In Louisiana, someone is in a crash every three minutes. At the Level 1 Trauma Center at UMC, we see all too often the injuries and fatalities that result from motor vehicle crashes – and know that many of these injuries could have been prevented with proper protective equipment.

Motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death among children aged 1-14 in Louisiana, according to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.

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Protective equipment that could prevent these injuries, such as car seats, booster seats and seat belts, are sometimes underutilized or not used correctly.

When used correctly, child restraints are the number one factor in reducing serious injuries and death in motor vehicle crashes.

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Recognizing that some families in Louisiana cannot afford to buy the proper child safety seats, Louisiana’s SONIC Drive In restaurants reached out to us to help. They’ve banded together to raise money for that purpose. SONIC Drive-In has created a “Tot” calendar – which is on sale through February 18 at 147 locations in the state.

If you are visiting UMC, be sure to stop by the hospital gift shop on the first floor, near Tower 1 to pick up a copy of this year’s calendar.

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Calendars are only $5 and all proceeds will be being directed to the Louisiana Passenger Safety Task Force to purchase and distribute child safety seats throughout the state. In addition to free car seat safety tips, the calendar offers more than $45 worth of coupons redeemable towards SONIC Drive-In purchases.

We are extremely appreciative of this partnership, which has raised $103,000 and provided nearly 2,000 child safety seats in just two years. It provides an avenue to reach the unrestrained and improperly restrained population to prevent the injuries that we far too often witness as a Level 1 Trauma Center. SONIC also supports National Seat Check Saturday, an annual statewide event hosted by the Louisiana Passenger Safety Task Force that provides free child safety seat inspections for all families. This event takes place in September during National Child Safety Week.

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If you aren’t sure if your child safety seat is installed correctly, FREE assistance from certified child safety technician is available very Wednesday in our area from 1-4 p.m. at Louisiana State Police Troop B, 2101 1-10 Service Road in Kenner.

As parents, we want to do everything we can to make sure our children are safe. When you ensure that your children are properly restrained in your vehicle, you can reduce serious injuries. Take this important step to make sure your child is safe, every trip and every time.

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For more information, go to www.umcno.org/injuryprevention

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Bridget Gardner, RN is a registered nurse and coordinator of the Community Injury Prevention Program at UMC New Orleans. The Louisiana Passenger Safety Task Force is a network of certified child passenger safety technicians throughout the state, directed by the UMC Trauma Program.