DEAR ABBY: Your recent letters concerning the need for organ and tissue donation caught my attention, and I want to take the opportunity to add my voice to those of your other readers. As a former heart and lung transplant surgeon, I witnessed the suffering of my patients firsthand. One in four patients died while waiting for a new heart or lung. As a U.S. senator, I am continuing my efforts to encourage the "gift of life" for nearly 50,000 Americans who await a lifesaving transplant.
As co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Organ and Tissue Donation, I have had the privilege of working with my colleagues to sponsor both legislation and a number of public awareness initiatives. The response in the Senate has been overwhelming, and more than half of the senators have contacted my office to let me know that they have signed up as organ and tissue donors.
All of our efforts, such as my Gift of Life Congressional Medal Act of 1996, are designed to focus attention on the need for donations at the local level. We in Congress encourage you and your readers to talk to your friends, and most important, your families about your willingness to donate organs and tissue.
If any of your readers have any questions or concerns about organ tissue donation, I would be pleased to hear from them, and help in any way I can. My address is: Sen. Bill Frist, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C. 20510, or if your readers wish to contact me via their computer networks, my address is: www.senate.gov/~frist/donor.html.
Thank you again, Abby, for all you've done for those needing a lifesaving transplant. -- BILL FRIST, M.D., U.S. SENATOR FROM TENNESSEE
DEAR SEN. FRIST: Thank YOU. And we should all thank the good Lord and medical science that transplants are available to many of those who need them.
READERS: Please search your hearts and add your names to the lists of those who wish to give the "gift of life" so that everyone who needs a transplant will receive one.