Death of US Navy Chief Petty Officer highlights need for organ donors

Organ donations needed
tyler murphy picture donation.PNG
Posted at 4:28 PM, Jul 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-15 18:32:29-04

NORFOLK, Va. - A war hero was tragically killed but people are living on because of his organ donations.

A recent case highlights the need for people to donate.

News 3 went to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital to learn more about organ donation on Friday.

Leaders at Sentara said there is a large need for organ donors.

They say at their hospital alone there are 21 people waiting for a new heart and 400 waiting for a kidney.

Tyler Murphy was a strong, healthy, US Navy Chief Petty Officer with the elite Special Warfare Combat Craft Crewmen.

The 40-year-old tragically died but had made it known while he was alive that he wanted to donate his organs.

“Murph spent his entire adult life in the service of our great nation and the fact that he was willing to donate his organs with his passing makes complete sense. It was his final act It was selfless service,” said Mike Provost, a close friend.

While his family continues to grieve their loss, they are still extraordinarily proud of another one of Tyler’s selfless acts.

“It’s comforting for a father and a family knowing that he’s living through other people,” said Stephen Murphy, Tyler’s father.

The Health Resources & Services Administration reported that there are 100,000 people waiting for an organ donation in the US. They said 17 people die each day waiting for a transplant and in 2021 there were 40,000 transplants performed.

Dr. Christopher Sciortino is a Cardiothoracic Surgeon at Sentara and is passionate about the value of donated organs.

“The miracle here is the generosity of the donor. We are all tools to expedite that miracle. What we need is more people to understand that and more people to be a donor,” said Sciortino.

69-year-old Ronald Minton just got a new heart on Sunday from someone he doesn’t know who lives far away.

“I hate for him to have to lose his life to give me life,” said Minton, but said he is so grateful and happy to get to spend more time with his family.

Sentara provided us with a video of the day of his surgery.

Minton suffered a heart attack at the age of 25 years old. He's had heart problems for years and recently things got very bad.

“It got so I couldn’t even cut my grass, that’s how bad it was,” said Minton. Now he is feeling much better and looking forward to getting out, going on vacation, and being able to leave his house.

“The transplant list is incredibly long across the country and many patients die while they are awaiting a transplant and that could be solved by more people coming forward and donating organs,” said Dr. John Herre, the Medical Director, Advanced Heart Failure and Heart Transplantation.

Dr. Herre said people need to sign up to be an organ donor before passing away. He said it is an easy process done through the DMV in many cases.

He said if you pass away suddenly and unexpected there is a great deal of stress for the family. He encouraged people to let their wishes be known.

Below is information from the DMV on being an organ donor:

Organ transplantation is one of the most remarkable success stories in the history of medicine. In most cases, it's the only hope for thousands of people suffering from organ failure or in desperate need of corneas, skin, bone or other tissue.

Tragically, the need for donated organs and tissues continues to outpace the supply. Right now, thousands of Americans could be helped if enough organs and tissues were available. Organ and tissue donation provides each of us with a special opportunity to help others.

You can save lives by making the decision to be an organ and tissue donor.

When you apply for a driver's license, driver privilege card, learner's permit or photo ID card, you will be asked if you wish to become an organ donor. If you decide to become a donor, your choice will be noted on the front of your driver's license or photo ID card.

If you wish to change your organ donor status later, go to Donate Life Virginia. To change the status on your credential, apply for a replacement driver’s license, driver privilege card or ID card. You may complete this transaction online or you may make the change as part of your next driver's license, driver privilege card or ID card renewal.

The decision to become an organ/tissue donor is yours. Your decision will not affect your driving privileges.

By saying "Yes" to organ donation, you could save or improve the quality of life for more than 50 others who suffer from organ failure, bone defects, burns or blindness.

Once you have made your decision, share it with your family.

For more information, contact:

Donate Life Virginia

9200 Arboretum Parkway, Suite 104

Richmond, VA 23236

1-866-VADonor (1-866-823-6667)