organ donation

‘A Caring, Giving Person': Margate Man Taken Off Life Support, Organs Donated

Family members agreed to carry out Ralph Harper’s wishes of being an organ donor, keeping him on life support until he made his donation Wednesday

NBC Universal, Inc.

Dozens of HCA Hospital Northwest staff members lined a hallway leading to an operating room around 5 p.m. Wednesday, as 58-year-old Ralph Harper of Margate was wheeled in.

Moments later, Harper would be taken off life support, and his organs would be harvested for donation.

“[He] was a caring, giving, person. He would do anything for anybody,” said Harper’s friend, David Hafling. “… His fiance, she’s torn up and it’s going to be hard. But she’ll get through it, and we will get through it, knowing that he’s helping other people.”

Ralph Harper was taken off life support Wednesday and his organs harvested for donation. NBC 6's Ryan Nelson reports

Hafling says Harper fell into cardiac arrest last Thursday, and was pronounced brain dead the next day.

He tells NBC 6 that family members agreed to carry out Harper’s wishes of being an organ donor, keeping him on life support until he made his donation Wednesday.

“We send our condolences to the family,” said CEO of HCA Hospital NW, Kenneth Jones. “But we also really support their recognition that organ donation helps others. This individual donated their kidneys and liver. We’re very appreciative of that and it helps to raise recognition to our community.”

Harper had no children but was an animal lover. He had been with his fiance for 26 years.

"When one life ends, it’s always tragic, but the silver lining is you can help so many different people with organs for donation," said Dr. Alvin Haynes, the 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 waitlist.

Hafling hopes Harper’s last act of generosity will motivate others to become organ donors.

“There’s too many other people out there that need them,” he said. “Especially kids who have no other way that they’re going to live. This is the most important thing that you can do in your death, is donate your organs.“

Contact Us