Before anything else, though - a suggestion. Family and friends of Courtney Nash are hurting. They've lost a daughter, sister, friend: and prayer for them couldn't hurt. Also a prayer for Courtney.
Praying for the welfare of someone who's already dead may seem odd to some Americans. For Catholics who understand their faith - not so much, I hope. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1032) And I'm getting off-topic.2 Then there were clueless remarks made after the earthquake in Japan this year.3
I'm a practicing Catholic, so I have to believe that God upholds and sustains creation 24/7. (Catechism, 301) Also that secondary causes exist. (Catechism, 306-308) Which doesn't make me a sort of 'robot for God.' I've got free will. So do you. (Catechism, 307)
If God continually upholds and sustains creation, how could He possibly have let Courtney die? For that matter, why did a loving God let two of our six children die?
I don't know. I don't need to know. God's God, I'm not.4 And I'm getting off-topic again.Background," near the end of this post.
The amoeba that causes the disease lives in warm water, enters the body through the nose, and generally kills its victims. The good news is that it's very rare, at least in this country. The CDC's "Naegleria FAQ" gives a few precautions folks can take to keep from having their brains eaten by this microblob.
I think calling Courtney's death a "freak accident" is pretty accurate - given what the term means in conversational English, and how rare that particular amoeba is.
"...Just seven days earlier Courtney signed up to be an organ donor when she got her drivers license, something that's now giving her mother peace. 'I got a call last night. They took her into surgery at 4 o'clock by 8:30 both lungs were already transplanted. The liver, the pancreas, this morning. This morning they're performing another miracle for someone else. They're putting kidneys in and they're doing more later today,' said PJ. She now believes God had a higher calling for her daughter...."Are organ transplants okay? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. (Catechism, 2296)
I gather that Courtney's decision to be an organ donor was "a noble and meritorous act." (Catechism, 2296) Which isn't the same as saying that organ donation is always a good thing:
"...it is not morally admissible directly to bring about the disabling mutilation or death of a human being, even in order to delay the death of other persons."In other words, arranging for someone else to use your organs after you're dead is a good thing. Killing one person to get organs that might help another person isn't a good thing.
No wonder Catholic teachings are called "vague" now and then. (July 18, 2009) We aren't told that gambling and alcohol are Satanic, and that sex is bad - unless you're married and are suitably grim about doing it. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2413, 2290, 2331-2336, 2360-2372) Let's put it this way: When God created man, "male and female," He didn't say 'oh, gross!' (Genesis 1:28) Still more topics.
Bottom line? Courtney Nash's death is a great loss to her family and friends. But folks who received her organs have a new lease on life: which, I think, is a good thing.
- "Christina Green, Organ Transplants, and Rules"
(January 16, 2011)
- "Remember: 'Clinically Dead' isn't 'Dead' "
(October 22, 2010)
- "Stem Cell Research: Backed by the Vatican, No Kidding"
(April 28, 2010)
- "Prayer, Medicine and Trusting God"
(March 4, 2010)
- "Face Transplant: We Can Do it, But is it Right?"
(May 6, 2009)
- "Teen who died from amoeba now saving other lives"
Holly Bristow, FOX 35 News (August 15, 2011)
- "Parasites - Naegleria"
- "Free-Living Amoebic Infections"
Parasites and Health, DPDx, CDC (last modified July 20, 2009)
- "Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis --- Arizona, Florida, and Texas, 2007"
MMWR Weekly, CDC (May 30, 2008)
1 "Teen who died from amoeba now saving other lives," Holly Bristow, FOX 35 News (August 15, 2011)
2 "Haiti: Voodoo, Pat Robertson, and the Catholic Church"
(January 16, 2010)
3 "Japan's Earthquake, Divine Retribution, and the Tower at Siloam"
(March 15, 2011)
4 I've been over this sort of unanswerable question several times, including these posts:
- "Losing a Child, Charity, and All That"
(June 4, 2011)
- "Why did God Do That to Me?"
(February 12, 2011)
- "Baptism of Desire: Or, Two Thousand Years of Not Knowing Everything"
(May 3, 2010)