Warm organs were taken from the small body of a young boy who lay unconscious as a result of an accident. I wonder whether he knew the phrase “helping others.” I heard that, with tears in their eyes, his parents gently smiled at the child, who saved other lives.
A boy under 6 years old became brain dead at Toyama University Hospital, and his parents offered his organs for transplants. This is the first time in Japan that organs of such a young child have been provided. His heart and liver were transplanted into two girls under 10 years old.
Since the brains of young children are very resilient, pronouncing brain death requires extreme caution.
Doctors confirm the absence of traces of abuse and make a diagnosis of brain death again 24 hours after the initial diagnosis. The parents, who made a grave decision while grieving over their loss, commented: “We are proud of our son.” If organ transplants between young children take root in Japan, parents would no longer have to rely on overseas transplants, which are both physically and financially difficult.
The boy will continue to live in the bodies of girls of the same generation. The girls who received his organs could eventually fall in love and become mothers. As they experience the ups and downs of life, the boy will continue to support them.
“Yesterday and today happened to be next to each other. Today and tomorrow suddenly find themselves next to each other. That is why there are times when there is no tomorrow.”
The lyricist and writer Rokusuke Ei dedicated those words to singer Kyu Sakamoto (1941-1985), who died in a Japan Airlines jumbo jet crash.
Days that happen to be next to each other are dotted with unexpected grief and happiness. We go from one day to the next hopping on randomly placed stepping stones. That is how life moves forward.
The girls who received a heart bursting with energy and a spotless liver are starting on a journey. It is as if they were each taking part in a three-legged race, their arms around a benefactor they have never met and will never meet.
--The Asahi Shimbun, June 20
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Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a popular daily column that takes up a wide range of topics, including culture, arts and social trends and developments. Written by veteran Asahi Shimbun writers, the column provides useful perspectives on and insights into contemporary Japan and its culture.
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