Patient Gives the Gift of Life to Six Strangers - PIH Health

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Published on July 27, 2015

Patient Gives the Gift of Life to Six Strangers

Brian Christian Ellis - organ donor

Brian Christian Ellis - organ donorOrgan donation is the process of giving an organ or part of an organ for the purpose of transplantation into another person. And that is just what Brian Christian Ellis was able to do. He gave a second chance at life to six complete strangers when he died in 2009 at Downey Regional Medical Center, which in 2013 would become PIH Health Downey Hospital.

“I am proud of our son and happy that Brian’s organs were able to save the lives of, six strangers, who will never know him,” said Diane M. Linares, Brian’s mother. “It was remarkable that within six hours of his heart being recovered it belonged to a 12-year-old girl at another hospital. Brian would have wanted to help others in any way he could and saying yes to donating his organs, gave our family comfort at a time when grief and numbness were pervading our senses.”

PIH Health staff work closely with One Legacy/Donate Life, an organization that saves and heals lives through organ, eye and tissue donation, comforts families, and inspires the community to donate life.

“PIH Health is proud to work with One Legacy’s organ donation program,” said Judy Pugach, interim chief nursing officer at PIH Health Downey Hospital. “Countless lives are saved each year by organ donations.”

One donor is capable of saving the lives of 8 people and enhancing the lives of up to 60 people!

Ms. Linares is now an Ambassador with One Legacy and speaks at many of the organization’s events. Her main focus as an ambassador is speaking at hospitals to new nurses and doctors.

“It is important for me to talk about the care and treatment we received from the Intensive Care Unit,” said Ms. Linares. “The nurses and doctors who attended to Brian were sensitive to our needs as a family, offering understanding, professional support and consideration throughout our week there.”

According to One Legacy/Donate Life, 29,532 organ transplants were performed in 2014, and there are currently approximately 123,000 men, women and children awaiting organ transplants in the United States. The statistics show that 90% of Americans say they support donation, but only 30% know the essential steps to take to become a donor.

“As a mother, I share my son’s story, to honor his life and memory, telling our story of a wonderful young man who is deeply missed and whose mother is stepping forward in ways she never imagined hoping his legacy will continue to make a difference in the lives of others,” added Ms. Linares.

For more information on organ donation, please visit or

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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