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More than 100 hospital employees pay tribute to late nurse who became organ donor


Mary Desin, 58, died May 31 after a brain aneurysm. Desin was a nurse at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Hamot hospital in Erie. Desin donated her liver and kidneys after her death. (UPMC Hamot)

A Pennsylvania nurse gave everything she could to her patients – both in life and death.

More than 100 employees lined the halls of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center to say farewell to their beloved colleague, Mary Desin.

Desin, who devoted her 30-year career in the medical field to caring for her patients, died of a brain aneurysm on May 31 at the age of 58, according to Good Morning America. Following her passing, the longtime nurse had arranged to donate her liver and kidneys in a bid to continue saving lives.

Her co-workers, who felt more like friends and family, gathered in droves to pay tribute to late nurse, standing by while Desin’s loved ones wheeled her to the operating room where her organs were slated to be collected.

Desin’s son, Matthew James Desin, told the morning show the display was “extremely emotional.”

“Most everybody was crying. People I didn’t even know came up to me during the time and said how much they loved her and she helped them get further in their career,” he said.

Mary Desin
Mary Desin (UPMC Hamot)

“I expected maybe 20 people from her times as an OR nurse and her current position to be there. I didn’t expect over 100 people to be impacted by her loss.”

One organ donor can save up to eight lives, according to the Health Resources & Services Administration.

As of January 2019, more than 113,000 men women and children were on the national transplant waiting list, the agency noted. Every 10 minutes, another person is added to that list.

“What Mary was doing was very brave,” Donny McDowell, a senior professional staff nurse, told GMA. “It was incredible to see the lives that would be changed because of Mary’s gift.”