Coroners and medical examiners work in difficult and often emotionally taxing situations. From doing investigative work at death scenes, conducting autopsies, and notifying the next-of-kin about a death, the job is often demanding and not fully understood by the communities these individuals serve.
Taney County Coroner, Tony Mullen, believes that donation is one way he can bring hope to others during a time of grief.
In southwest Missouri, one county coroner has found a way to serve his community in a way that brings hope of restored sight and life to others in the darkest times of loss. Taney County Coroner, Tony Mullen, works with local eye tissue bank, Saving Sight, to offer the opportunity of eye donation. For many families, honoring their loved one’s wish to give the gift of sight through donation brings a sense of peace and hope during the hardest time of their lives.
“When you can physically see the results of donation, it’s huge,” said Mullen. “As a family member, I would feel honored if my loved one could be a donor.”
As the county coroner, Mullen is in the unique position to work with agencies like Saving Sight when a death occurs to offer donation as an option in many cases. Mullen is also committed to educating others in his local community about donation and providing resources to help others understand the process. He believes it’s crucial for an individual to make their wishes about donation known to their family.
“For many people, the only exposure they have to donation is at the DMV when they sign up,” said Mullen. “In the position that I’m in, I have the opportunity to educate others.”
Each day, Saving Sight provides the gift of sight to nine individuals through the gift of cornea donation and transplantation. Additionally, 110,000 individuals in the U.S. are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. You can make a difference in the lives of others by joining the eye, organ, and tissue donor registry at registerme.org and sharing your decision with your family.
With fewer public gatherings for firework displays this Fourth of July holiday due to COVID-19, many health experts expect that more individuals will purchase and light fireworks for their own personal use this weekend. While fireworks are a beautiful and time-honored tradition associated with the holiday, it’s important that you take precautions to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that there are 9,000 fireworks-related injuries each year in the U.S. Thirty percent of those are eye injuries, and one-fourth of those eye injuries result in blindness. What’s more, children account for the majority of fireworks-injury victims, and for children under 5, sparklers — which burn at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and can cause third-degree burns — account for one-third of fireworks-related injuries.
For these reasons, the American Academy of Ophthalmology encourages you to follow these recommendations:
- Never let children play with fireworks of any type.
- View fireworks from a safe distance: at least 500 feet away, or up to a quarter of a mile for best viewing.
- Leave the lighting of fireworks to trained professionals.
- Follow directives given by event ushers and public safety personnel.
- Respect safety barriers set up to allow pyrotechnicians to do their jobs safely.
- If you find unexploded fireworks remains, do not touch them. Immediately contact your local fire or police department.
- If you get an eye injury from fireworks, seek medical help immediately.
If you do decide to shoot off fireworks yourself, be sure to follow all safety precautions, protect your eyes, and keep children a safe distance away. The staff at Saving Sight wishes you a safe and fun-filled Independence Day weekend.
Sources: EyeSmart and the American Academy of Ophthalmology.