Tag Archives: organ donation

Three Rivers – You Ask They Tell: #AlexOLoughlin 2009

We are thinking of running themes and focus on a subject every week, for the weeks we still have left during hiatus. Not sure if it will work that way, because we both got kind of busy lately. But let’s try at least.

With all the talk about transplants, I thought it might be a good idea to start with the angelic Dr Andy Yablonski. I know not many like posts about Three Rivers and they are normally some of the lesser shared or liked articles.

It is however important for me to see how enthusiastic Alex was to be part if such a ‘real’ show and a subject like organ donation, that can be of such great value to so many people around the world. He really poured his heart into this one.

Alex O’Loughlin tells us about CBS’s new show ‘Three Rivers’

on ‘You Ask, They Tell’.

Transcript 

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Question: Can you describe your character on Three Rivers?

Alex: My character, his name is Andy Yablonski, and he’s a cardiothoracic surgeon at a hospital in Pittsburgh called Three Rivers. And he specializes, as does the hospital, in transplant medicine and transplant …. organ transplantation. And it’s … he is based on a real-life character called Gonzo Gonzales-Stawinski out of Cleveland.

The Cleveland Clinic, which is where I did my studying and research for this role and … with Gonzo. And the show …. the show we tell from three different points of view. We tell it from the point of view of the donor, the recipient, and … my character and the medical team at Three Rivers. And so it is a medical show that I believe we haven’t seen before.

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Question: What makes Three Rivers stand out from other television shows?

Alex: The fact that the core of the show, the heart, of the show if you will, is based in organ transplantation. It’s not something that has been done on TV before. We may have seen glimpses of it, but really not the way we are doing it.

We’re doing it with the utmost integrity, remaining intact at all times, for the truth of ….. of this field of medicine. And of …. you know, the other thing that we desperately try to do is dispel all the misconceptions and myths around organ donation. And you know one of the main ones is  …. you know, people are scared to become donors, because they have heard that …  if anything ever does happen to them, doctors in hospitals won’t try to save them, because their organs are … are available. Which is absolutely not true.

And I’m a spokesperson and ambassador now for Donate Life America, which is a great pleasure and a great privilege. And they are an incredible organization. And so, they have a website, Donatelife.net, which you can jump on and find all sorts of information about the truth about organ donation. About how important it is. About how many lives you can affect. You can actually save up to 8 lives and affect up to 50, by being an organ donor. And so …. yeah, and I am. I am an organ donor.

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Question: How did you prepare for this role?

Alex: The clinic was a huge … the Cleveland Clinic was a huge part of my preparation. And my time with Gonzo …. I spend a lot of time with Gonzo on the phone before I got to Cleveland. I went to Cleveland a number of times and spend blocks of time there, staying at the hotel which is connected to the hospital. Which is funny because in the story my character lives in the hotel connected to the hospital, because he is separated from his wife. He’s in a transition phase of his life.

But my preparation for this …. I …. from the minute I made the decision and said yes to the job, I went into my research and preparation like a bull at a gate. And I didn’t stop. I actually still haven’t stopped, because it is such a massive thing.

Medicine is …it’s like law, or science. It’s another language, it’s another world away. These people train for 15 years before they can, you know, do what these guys do. And so, it’s taking a lot. And there’s a lot of … I live in textbooks …. in medical textbooks and encyclopedias. And on the phone to my ….. my friends who are surgeons and doctors. And just …. I’m forever learning, and there’s just so much to learn. And so, I’m doing my best.

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Question: What will you take away from playing a role like this?

Alex: I find it very interesting. I find …. I’m fascinated with medicine. And I’m borderline obsessed with this stuff. I mean the thing is there’s … medicine at this level, you know, surgeons…. I just ….. what they do is incredible. It’s so fascinating to me. I’ve spent a lot of time in the OR as well. Like shoulder to shoulder with my man there, watching two feet away ….. at somebody’s open chest and heart pumping and lungs breathing. And watching them go on bypass and then the surgeon comes in and does all his stuff.

I mean it’s …. It really changes …. It’s really changed my perspective on life. It really like … I mean it really shifts the way you view life. To see how resilient we are on the inside as well as on the outside of our bodies. And I mean, it makes you question faith, and religion and whether this is in fact a second chance that we think we’re going to get after this life. I mean it’s pretty … it opens up a whole bunch of philosophical debates.

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Video:

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Filed under Alex O´Loughlin, Charity, Dr Andy, fixing hearts, Interviews, Three Rivers, Transcript

Alex O’Loughlin is a Life Saver

Already in this short time I have received so many beautiful letters of support and gratitude from so many of you who have lost loved ones, and also shared the gift of life with others as a result of those tragedies.

— Alex O’Loughlin MySpace Blog, 30 November 2009

There is a term of endearment among the fan girls for Alex: He is a FLR (F/ckin Life Ruiner). Of course this means that his good qualities have spoiled them for such a lot of stuff (mostly for other men) in real life.

Urban dictionary: Life Ruiner (noun):
someone who is unbelievably perfect; ruins your image on how most people are; makes you believe that most people are unworthy because there is someone like him/her around

For me he has always been a life saver more than a life ruiner, because I actually don’t think he is “that” perfect. 😉

I want to move on to a subject close to my heart. One of saving lives. Some years ago my philosophy was, why offer my organs to somebody that did not take care of theirs in the first place. I have since then come a long way in revising my opinion and realising that many people are not to blame for their organs failing and even if they were, I believe in second chances.

There are lots of fans that say the subject matter of Three Rivers was depressing and boring because of all the dying. For me it never was!

Fact of the matter is, that a lot of people die an untimely death. Not a lot of them die in a manner, that can keep their bodies working until their organs can be harvested. Even if you are a registered donor, only a small percentage of us actually can be a donor in the end. I would however like to know, that if I am dying in a manner viable for donation, that the option is there that somebody could use my organs for that second chance in life.

As Dr Andy Yablonski, Alex portrays a brilliant doctor that once got a second chance to turn his own life around. He uses his talents to help people who need medical care, to also have that second chance in life. I find it totally exhilarating and life-giving.

“I often catch myself saying things like We’re actors! We’re not curing cancer or feeding the hungry.”

— Alex O’Loughlin MySpace Blog, November 30, 2009

In my opinion they couldn’t have asked for somebody better to play this role. For although, they (CBS), totally screwed up the series, Alex with his success in other projects will always be promoting this cause. Along the way the dedicated fans, that Alex attracts, will spread the word and the ripple effect of what he and this series started, will know no end……..

However short, the series did succeed to show so many different scenarios surrounding organ donation. The doubt with relatives of whether the loved one is really dead, all the different factors that need to be in place to do a successful transplant, black market trading in organs and its pitfalls, the subject of live donors and so many more.

I just want to mention one episode that will always haunt me, Episode 7. In my opinion one of the most thought-provoking episodes I have ever seen in any medical drama. And I also want to applaud Mandy Patinkin for his fantastic portrayal of “The Luckiest Man”.

(And just as a side note I hope when the final show down between Steve and WoFat ever occur, they will cast Mandy, just to come and say – “You killed my father, prepare to die” 🙂 )

The decisions around the deathbed of a loved one are never easy. Make it easy for them and register or at the least let them know how you feel about giving someone else a second chance.  And do yourself a favor, re-watch Three Rivers through the eyes of what it means on second chances and not of people dying.

It truly is “A Place of life much rather than death for me! And Alex is breathtakingly beautiful throughout…..so that alone is worth watching.

(Allow  me another side note on my total and utter surprise at Amber Clayton’s wonderful portrayal of Dr Lisa Reed. She truly made her an authentic character to me)

To Alex, I just want to say, thank you for taking on this project that scared you at first. Please don’t ever see or refer to Three Rivers as a failure in your career…..

This role, the guy I’m playing, is so important, that a part of me was like, you can’t do that, you can’t play that role, it’s too important, you’ll never know enough to be able to play that role. But they accepted me and it’s been such a privilege. — Alex O’Loughlin E! Online, May 20, 2009

This is dedicated to all of Alex’s fans, around the world, that are involved with Organ Donation and promoting it. Alex might have given the cause the heart, but all your efforts will always give it arms and legs, to carry it forward!

Link to the Facebook page for Fans for Donate Life

March 2014 – You can also watch what Alex say about it  here

 

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Filed under Alex O´Loughlin, Dr Andy, Intense Research Reports