Honor walk (Code Green)

I was intrigued at the overhead page. I had never been to one of them. I contemplated resting my feet between seeing patients or quickly go see what my friends at other medical institutions had been talking about.

I texted my coworkers. One was stuck in a rapid response on a sick patient. One was seeing a sick patient in the emergency department. One was finishing a note in the office on the fifth floor. And another one hadn’t heard the page but couldn’t have come anyway because she was busy triaging ED pages for admissions and floor cross coverage pages. I felt lonely.

The next minute I texted my only available coworker that I’ll come get him. Together we started towards a spiritual and loving tradition that hospitals are adopting across the nation.

As we made our way to the second floor where the surgical operating rooms are I sensed a somber feeling in the air. There were people talking in hushed voices. It was the kind of silence that is sometimes associated with the arrival of an important moment.

We walked down the long hallway to the OR and stood with at least twenty other people, all lining the walls outside the OR. We waited with baited breath. We had so many questions but knew that this was a moment of silence. The questions could wait.

And then it emerged. A stretcher with a young man on it. A stretcher with a living, breathing human being. A stretcher wheeled by someone, surrounded by people, watched by even more of us. But in that moment, nothing could match the majestic quality of the figure in the stretcher, walking the most honorable walk of his life with his family , even though he was floating many feet above the ground, ethereal in his presence and spiritual in the message that emanated from his selflessness.

A dying man walked the most honorable walk in the hospital hallway that night. Honor Walk of an Organ Donor and His Family. A man still living but likely suffering from an illness he won’t survive. A man giving up his organs to be a community member in his death. A man embracing death with a dignity that sometimes life doesn’t afford us.

Family walked this walk with him. I couldn’t directly see them. But I hope they felt the solidarity and the oneness we shared with them in that moment. They were not alone. None of us were alone. I hope they felt the powerfully spiritual message of humanity and gratitude that the people lining the walls felt as they walked one last time with their loved one.

Fellow human beings! Let’s bring hope and life to fellow human beings through organ donation.

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