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December 5, 1997     The Message
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December 5, 1997

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10 The Message m for Catholics of southwestern Indiana Nebraska priest back on job after kidney-pancreas tra By MARILYN ZASTROW Catholic News Service GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (CNS) -- Three months after transplant surgery to replace his pancreas and a kidne); Father Marty Egging has stepped back care- fully into his roles as an associate pastor and high school chaplain in Grand Island. "I have to come first -- until I am totally recuperat- ed," said the 36-year-old priest, who is assigned to Blessed Sacrament Parish and Central Catholic Mid- dle-High School. "It's very tough on me to say 'no' to anyone," he added in an interview with the West Nebraska Regis- ter, newspaper of the Grand Island Diocese. Since his surgery Aug. 11 in Memphis, Tenn., he has been following a daily regime of exercise, medication, rest and as much work as his body tolerates. Father Egging needed the double transplant as a result of the diabetes he had suffered for 21 years. Another result of the disease is that he is more attuned to his body than the average person. "I have to rest when my body says I'm tired," he said. "I had to take a nap after the 10 a.m. Mass Sun- day. I was pooped." Before his transplant, he had to limit his intake of fluids. His kidney had shut down and the dialysis treatments he endured the last three months before his surgery meant he was restricted to minimum amounts of fluid. Now he must drink lots of fluids because his new pancreas isattached directly to his bladder. "It's like God is flushing my toilet," he said. And there's no guilt now when he eats desserts. The new pancreas means no more diabetes. The test was eating a candy bar and still feeling good after ingest- ing the sugar. "I've ahvays had a sweet tooth," he said. "I ate my first Snickers after I returned to Grand Island -- alone in my room. It tasted so good and I felt good." He also has more energy than he has had for a long time. "I have more of a normal life," he said. This past year was a "tough year," Father Egging said, because he was on three separate waiting lists for organs. "I was still pushing myself to do my work, but I was losing energy." The dialysis treatments took a lot of time four hours each three times a week -- but "made a world of difference," he said. "I felt so much better." In addition to feeling better, though, Father Egging said he also met "lots of neat people" while at the hos- pital for the treatments. "There were usually eight other p'atients there so it was a mutual ministry. It's a scary procedure b watching your blood go out and come back in. We helped each other." During the interview, he urged readers to talk about organ donation among their families. At the time that donation is possible b when a per- son is brain dead "is the worst time for family members to guess what that person would want," Father Egging said. "Young people need to think about it." His donor was a 21-year-old who died of a gunshot wound to the head in Knoxville, Tenn. After surgery, Father Egging's recovery "was fairly i  normal," he said. He flew to his parents' ley less than four weeks after the He did have one bout of rej the surgery. "That was drug hell," he said. The powerful that the first injection "j a few inches above the bed." Over the 14 days, his body adjusted to the treatment was successful. His medication regime now requires he a day and have blood samples sent did ask, "Why me, Lord?" The a back was, "Why not you?" a week for testing. Father Egging will return to Memphis ir for major tests on the new organs "to they are working," he said. As Father Egging looked back admitted to getting mad at God at at him. "I never blamed him, but I did Lord?' The answer I got back was, He said he was fortunate to have the before the diabetes did any more damage Laser treatments saved his eyesigh culation problems. His final thought was one of gratitude pie who remembered him with prayers He said two of the hospital vo] brought him armloads of cards one day themselves who I was. They thought movie star or something to have. The septuplet babies: Raising multiple q By CAROL ZIMMERMANN Catholic News Service ................. WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Hidden behind all the hoopla and excitement surrounding the recent births of the Iowa septu- plets is an issue that many don't see as black and white w much less pink and blue. Beyond the sheer amazement of the birth of these seven chil- dren is the talk that some of these children might not have been, if the couple had followed their doctor's advice, The record-making births have been hailed as a miracle by some. They have rallied com- munity and national support and turned the small town of Carlisle, Iowa, into an overnight media circus. And in nearly every report that talks about Bobbi and Kenrty McCaughey and their instantly large family, there has been the mention that the cou- ple, because of their Baptist reli- gious convictions, chose not to "selectively reduce" the number of fetuses. Stop right there, say Catholic medical ethicists who are con- cerned with the health care community's casual usage of this euphemism for abortion. The McCaugheys were told early in the pregnancy that aborffng some of the fetuses would increase the chance of survival for the others. ..... 8obbLMcCughey, in her.fiKst . he notion of using technology to help create life and then to use surgery to reduce it, is madness public interview Nov. 21, said she and her husband decided not to abort any of the children because "these are babies. How can you decide that you're going to have this one and you're not going to have that one?" " The advice to the McCaugh- eys wasn't new. Doctors have long said that the more fetuses a woman carries, the greater health risk to each one. Multiple babies are likely to be born pre- maturely and run the risk of having cerebral palsy, brain damage, blindness, retardation or developmental problems. But today, with the increased use of fertility drugs and aggressive fertility treatments, the procedure of "selective reduction" is becoming more commonplace. It's also por- trayed as the compassionate thing to do. "The notion of using technol- ogy to help create life and then to use surgery to reduce it, is madness," said Franciscan Father Germain Kopaczynski, director of education at the Pope John Center for the Study of Ethics in Health Care in Boston. He said the whole idea "shows the schizophrenia our age has that wants children, but not too many, and needs to kill to bring to life." Dominican Father Patrick Norris, associate director for the Center of Health Care Ethics at St. Louis University, said this procedure "sets up a terrific irony. Parents who have been desperate for children have to make a decision to destroy a healthy child." The decision is an arbitrary one and one that no parent should have to make, both priests pointed out. Countering the medical advice, Father Norris said, "Logically, you might think you must try to save some (of the children). But the church takes the counter-intuitive approach and says not to do something morally evil. The church says you can never directly kill an son." Fathers Kopaczynski both 1 the 1987 Vaticarl "Donum Vitae" Life"), which there is wrong with drugs to as long as they against the unitiv creative aspects But ferhhzatlon, where.. takes place in a dish, immoral .... By JOHN THAVIS Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY (CNS)- The reported practice of selling "cus- tom-made" human embryos to infertile couples is a perverse form of commercialization that should be stopped by authori- ties, said a frequent Vatican com- mentator on bioethics issues. "Such an initiative rewards only the selfishness of the child- less couple, but it ignores totally and radically the rights of the child," said Father Gino Con- cetti, an editorialist at the Vati- can newspaper, UOsservatore Romano. .................... made remarks in an interview with the Italian news agency ANSA Nov. 24 after U.S. media report- ed on aNew York medical cen- ter that was offering to infertile couples a choice of embryos for implantation, based on such factors as the intelligence, looks and ethnic identity of the donor parents. According to the reports, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in Manhattan has built up a collection of "pedigreed" frozen embryos that are avail- able to couples. "If such a perverse practice is not immediately stopped, huma, m'ty risks open!ng the his" door to a new form of slavery, one represented embryos," He said to consider the couple above all threat, as a -commercial and respect. The church forms of are violate basic In recent' have we gaps in the embryos tion Vatican commentator decries sale of 'custom-made' embryos