Deaths from motor vehicle crashes and fatal injuries are the biggest source of organs for transplant, accounting for 33% of donations, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, which manages the nation's organ transplant system.
But ever since the coronavirus forced Californians indoors, those accidents have declined. Traffic collisions and fatalities in the state dropped by half in the first three weeks of shelter-in-place restrictions, according to a study by the University of California, Davis. Drowning deaths dropped 80% in California, according to data compiled by the nonprofit Stop Drowning Now.
From March 8 to April 11, the number of organ donors who died in traffic collisions was down 23% nationwide compared with the same period last year, while donors who died in all other types of accidents were down 21%, according to data from UNOS.
Well this is awkward.
Organ Transplants Down As Stay-At-Home Rules Reduce Fatal Traffic Collisions [April Dembosky / NPR]
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Back in 2013, Kendra Jackson was in a pretty nasty car accident. The vehicle she was in was hit, hard, from behind. The force of the impact propelled Jackson's head into the dash in front of her. She recovered from her injuries and got on with her life. A few weeks after the crash, however, she came down with a serious case of the sniffles. She'd sneeze, cough and blow her nose throughout the day. In bed, the fluid running down the back of her nose from her sinuses would make her cough and keep her up at night. It had all the hallmarks of a bad cold. But bad colds don't typically last for years at a time. She saw doctors for the problem. They told her that all the stuff running out of her head was likely due to allergies.
Seeking out a second opinion, Jackson discovered that what she thought to be snot was actually due to a cerebrospinal fluid leak (CSF): her head was leaking brain fluid.
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“This fluid serves the function of providing mechanical protection of the brain through cushioning or buffering, as well as playing a role in its immunologic protection,” Dr. Brad Marple, chair of otolaryngology at the University of Texas Southwestern’s Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute, told Newsweek.
“Normally, it is contained within the water-tight confines of the skull, but occasionally an area of disruption can develop between the intracranial cavity and air-filled spaces within the skull. The sinuses are examples of air-filled spaces within the skull that share a thin common wall with the intracranial cavity and serve as a common route for a CSF leak.