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Every year thousands get a second chance through organ donation

Dave Ausmus received a heart from an organ donor. (KATU Photo)

Every year thousands of Americans lose their lives in tragedy, but because they chose to donate their organs, someone else had a chance to live.

Oregon Health & Science University recently helped Dave Ausmus, a retired forklift operator from Washougal, with his transplant.

Heart problems run in his family.

“My dad had heart failure, my mom had heart failure (and) I’ve got a brother who just recently passed away,” he said.

A few years ago doctors told Ausmus that his heart just wasn’t pumping hard enough. Luckily, he qualified for the organ transplant waiting list.

Then in May he was told there was a heart available.

“That took someone with a big heart to say – what can be used, put it to use, think of somebody else,” Ausmus said.

There’s really only one way to get a new heart.

“The best long-term treatment for heart failure is heart transplantation. Without a suitable donor, that cannot be possible,” said Dr. Jim Mudd, a transplant cardiologist at OHSU.

He said it’s easy for Oregonians to become organ donors by adding it to their driver’s license.

“I think that’s our duty to our society to have others benefit from those potential life-saving gifts,” Mudd said.

To put your name on the organ donor registry, ask the DMV to put a “D” code on your license or ID card.

You can also do it on the Donate Life Northwest website here.

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