Interview with David E. Courtney

Interviewed by Morgan W. Kelso on November 13, 2002

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH: 

David W. Courtney is the Vice President and Director of Public Relations for the Presumed Consent Foundation, Inc, which was established as a non-profit membership organization on January 18, 2001 in the State of New York by Terry McCarthy.  Mr. Courtney is approximately 45 years old, grew up and currently lives in Plainview, Texas.  Mr. Courtney was diagnosed with Emphysema when he was 39 years old and later found out that it was due to the fact that he had Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency.  He has gone through the evaluation process and is currently pursuing a lung transplant at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Texas.

Excerpts from Transcript

Excerpt 1 | Excerpt 2 | Excerpt 3 | Excerpt 4 | Excerpt 5

Excerpt 1

 

Background: 

David talks about what it was like growing up with his lung disease and how it affected his everyday life.

Excerpt:

Well I do know that I did have an inordinate amount of problem with running.  When I was in high school, I was a long-distance runner, and regardless of what training that I did at the coachesí suggestions, I still didnít feel I had the abilities that some people did, I would get winded more easily, sometimes I would get a little bit short of breath, but it was just kind ofÖ it wasnít something really severe, it was just more of a nagging feeling or a challenge to my sensibilities.  When I was a young adult and first went in the military, I was having a lot problems, I would continually have problems with bronchitis, and that at one point, one military doctor suggested that I had a little bit of a problem with asthma.

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Excerpt 2

 

Background: 

David discusses his frustrations growing up with Alpha-1 and about how it was continuously misdiagnosed and mistreated.

Excerpt:

Öand in 1996, I began getting some treatment for those infections with another doctor, when I would have an acute infection, they would give me, of course, antibiotics and some shots, and over a period of about 10 days it would clear up and then within 2 weeks, I would be sick again.  And the doctor says, "Well itís just chronic bronchitis and thatís not unusual really especially since youíre around a lot of people, you may have a tendency to catch things." As I said, I went to another doctor in Ď97, and when I was sick again, I got tired of every time I turned around I was sick and that doctor realized that it was Emphysema.

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Excerpt 3

 

Background: 

David talks about his experience with his disease and jokes around about the diagnosis that his doctors had given him.

Excerpt:

 

In July I got sick again and this time my doctor said, "Dave thereís no [getting] around about it, you need to retire, you need to take disability."  So I havenít actually worked at a paying job since July 3rd.  I think the biggest shock for me was, when I was diagnosed with the Alpha-1, I was told by that doctor that I had, maybe eighteen months to live and that if I did everything absolutely right, I might live 2-3 years.  That, of course, has been 5 years ago and Iím still kickiní (Laugh).

 

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Excerpt 4

 

Background: 

David tells me about his feelings after he went through the evaluation process and how he felt after finding out what is status was.

Excerpt:

 

Other opinions that I got from medical folks as well as friends and family was that well you donít really have any choice, do you?  So it was a lot of mixed feelings.  I wouldnít say confusion, but it did create the need for me to contemplate a lot of those different things?  Do I want to go with transplant now?  Do I not want to do transplant at all?  You know, those kind of things, and it is, itís scary, is probably the best way to say it, itís just flat scary.

 

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Excerpt 5

 

Background:

 

David talks about what Presumed Consent is and how it would work if implemented.

 

Excerpt:

 

Well our basis for Presumed Consent is that, as we see in the 10 countries that already have Presumed Consent, we would presume that someone is an organ donor unless they ďopt outĒ by saying: ďNo, Iím not going to be a donor.Ē  What we are doing is we want people to make a choice.  We donít want to force anyone to be a donor that doesnít want to be for whatever reason, be it religious beliefs, or they just simply donít believe in transplantation, but we want people to make that choice.

 

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For more information, contact Dr. Mary Jo Festle, Associate Professor of History at Elon University.

Email: festle@elon.edu

This page last updated 11/24/02