There is no such thing as a happy ending to a fatal crash, but a story about a recent accident in our area is a reminder that hope can follow tragedy. Our Panama City car accident law firm has worked with countless families after the unthinkable has happened, and we know how difficult the hours, days, and weeks can be after a loss. We know how difficult it can be to think beyond the tragedy, but we also know that doing so can help bring hope to another person and family in need.
On Friday June 22, 19-year-old Madison Hair was travelling north on State Road 77 in the vicinity of Court Marshal Ranch Road. For unknown reasons, her car moved into the grassy median and began to spin out of control. Hair's car travelled into the road's southbound lanes where it was struck on the driver's side by an SUV and then hit in the rear by a third vehicle.
The driver of the SUV, Joseph McCallen of Crestview, sustained minor injuries. Joseph and Kimberly Lewis, both of Dothan, were in the third vehicle and both were taken to Bay County with serious injuries. Following the crash, Madison Hair was taken to Bay Medical in critical condition.
The News Herald has continued to follow the story in the days following the tragic accident. According to a hospital spokesperson, Hair was declared legally brain dead at 3:38 P.M. on Monday June 25. Hair's family made the decision to donate their daughter's organs. They met with the organ team coordinator who began the process of type-matching her blood to identify potential recipients. In a statement released on behalf of the family, they mourned the young woman, but also said that it provided a measure of hope and healing to know that Hair would be able to answer the prayers of other families who were looking for a miracle.
Others who knew Hair spoke of a positive person who could light up a room, and said that her spirit would always be with them in their memories. A visitation and memorial service will be held at A. Crawford Mosely High School on Saturday June 30, with the visitation beginning at 10 A.M. and the service to be held at 11 A.M.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated 114,729 people are currently waiting for an organ, and someone is added to the list approximately every 10 minutes. Due to the shortage of donated organs, an average of 18 people will die every day because an organ was not available in time. However, there are other numbers that provide more hope. An average of 79 people receive organ transplants every day. Some organs can be provided by a living donor, including but not limited to a kidney, liver, and even part of a lung. Most organ donations, however, do occur after a death. A single donor can save up to eight lives.
It is important that people give serious consideration to becoming a donor. Living donations can be complex and require both a mental and physical evaluations. Those wishing to donate their organs upon their death should sign up as a donor with their state's registry, designate their donor status on their driver's license, and inform their family about their wishes.
Our Panama City wrongful death team is available to help families who have lost a loved one following an accident in Panama City. We are sensitive to the emotions that follow a tragedy, so we can help victims navigate the legal system in the wake of a loss.
For more information on organ donation, see OrganDonor.gov, a website run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A further discussion of the myths and facts about donation can also be found on the Mayo Clinic's webpage.