Dozens of staff at the North West HCA Hospital lined a hallway leading to an operating room around 5pm on Wednesday as Ralph Harper, 58, of Margate, was brought in.
Moments later, Harper would be taken off life support and his organs would be removed for donation.
“[He] was a caring and generous person. He would do anything for anyone,” Harper’s friend David Hafling said. “…His fiancée, she’s torn and it’s going to be hard. But she’ll get through this, and we’ll get through this, knowing that he’s helping other people.
Ralph Harper was taken off life support on Wednesday and his organs were removed for donation. Reporting by Ryan Nelson of NBC 6
Hafling says Harper went into cardiac arrest last Thursday and was declared brain dead the next day.
He tells NBC 6 that family members have agreed to carry out Harper’s wishes to be an organ donor, keeping him on life support until he donates on Wednesday.
“We send our condolences to the family,” HCA Hospital NW CEO Kenneth Jones said. “But we also support their recognition that organ donation helps others. This person donated his kidneys and liver. We are very grateful for this and it helps to increase recognition in our community.
Harper had no children but was an animal lover. He had been with his fiancée for 26 years.
“When a life ends, it’s always tragic, but the silver lining is that you can help so many different people with organs to donate,” said Dr. Alvin Haynes, chief medical officer of HCA Florida Northwest Hospital.
Jones says Harper’s liver and kidneys will be donated to two recipients who are currently on a waiting list.
Hafling hopes Harper’s latest act of generosity will inspire others to become organ donors.
“There are too many other people who need it,” he said. “Especially children who have no other way to live. This is the most important thing you can do in your death is to donate your organs.”