A woman who gave her life to helping others decided to do so even in death. Mary Desin was a nurse at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Hamot Hospital for nearly 40 years. Two weeks ago, the beloved member of the community died due to a brain aneurysm at 58 years old. Mary was registered to be an organ donor, courageously giving parts of herself to help others.
Doctors were getting ready to wheel Mary into the operation room for her organ donation. As they did, over 100 hospital staffers who had worked with Mary over the years stood in the hallway to pay tribute to her.
“It was quite poetic that Mary had been wheeled to her operating room that she had worked for so many years for her last hurrah,” noted senior professional staff nurse Donny McDowell, who worked with Mary for nearly her entire time there.
The hospital staff was very close. They were shaken by Mary’s sudden passing. “We get together for dinners or Christmas parties,” Donny remembered. “Mary was always on time, always coming to work early, usually a half-hour early. The day that she collapsed, she collapsed in the parking garage on her way to work in uniform.”
The staff got Mary’s family’s blessing for their symbolic send-off. “The family knew that we needed a time for us to say goodbye to Mary as well. The halls were lined as far as you could see. It was lined completely with nurses all the way to the operating room, and once you were in the operating room you had another line in there because they’re all scrubbed and sterile,” noted Donny. Donny’s hope is that Mary’s legacy will continue to educate people on the importance of organ donation.