November 11, 2010 Contact: Matt Splett
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (573) 882-5663
COLUMBIA, Mo. — For the fifth consecutive year, University Hospital’s organ donor program has received the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Medal of Honor for Organ Donation.
The 2010 Medal of Honor was presented to more than 300 of the nation’s largest hospitals for achieving organ donation consent rates at or above 75 percent over a 12-month period.
University Hospital is the only hospital in mid-Missouri to have ever won a Medal of Honor.
In addition to the Medal of Honor, University Hospital’s renal transplant program was recognized for its efficiency in getting patients a kidney transplant while maintaining outstanding outcomes.
The awards were presented to University Hospital on Wednesday, Nov. 3, during the 6th annual National Learning Congress on Organ Donation and Transplantation at Grapevine, Texas.
“To win the Medal of Honor and have our transplant team recognized five years in a row is a testament to the outstanding organ donation and transplantation program we have at University Hospital,” said Mark Wakefield, M.D., associate professor of surgery and director of the renal transplant program. “Our collaborative efforts are increasing the number of lives we save every year through organ donation and transplantation.”
In response to the national shortage of transplantable organs, University Hospital joined the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Organ Donation Breakthrough Collaborative in 2004. The collaborative is intended to dramatically increase access to transplantable organs through a strong relationship between hospitals and organ procurement organizations in order to identify more eligible organ donors, honor donation intentions as directed by the donor or donor’s family, and implement procedures to transfer organs to waiting recipients.
“By making the evaluation process more efficient, we are able to place more patients on the organ donation recipient wait list,” said Wakefield. “University Hospital’s average wait time for a deceased donor kidney transplant is 19 months, which we achieve while still maintaining great outcomes.”
Midwest Transplant Network partners with University Hospital to provide organ and tissue donation services to the community. Together they have built donation collaborative teams with members of both institutions. They strive to set goals, focus on education, perform more accurate data analysis and identify methods to consistently improve and maintain the donation services available to mid-Missourians.
“University Hospital and Midwest Transplant Network are strong partners in promoting the importance of organ donation, and through this partnership we operate a highly successful donor program,” said Lori Kramer Clark, hospital services coordinator for Midwest Transplant Network. “Despite our best efforts, one of the most pressing public health issue we as a nation face today is the disparity between available transplantable organs and those in need.”
More than 28,000 lives are saved each year in the United States through the gift of organ donation. Yet, the need for transplantation continues to outpace the availability of organs. Nationally, more than 108,000 people are currently awaiting a life-saving transplant.
“Every 10 minutes another name is added to the national organ transplant waiting list,” said Kramer Clark. “I would ask everyone to consider joining the organ donor registry. It is a selfless act that could forever change the life of a transplant recipient.”
Missouri residents are encouraged to learn more about becoming donors by visiting the Midwest Transplant Network’s Web site at http://www.mwtn.org/ or signing up for the Missouri donor registry at www.missouriorgandonor.com.