Madison - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Organ Transplantation Breakthrough Collaborative recently recognized St. Mary's Hospital and UW Hospital and Clinics with a National Medal of Honor for their work to improve organ donation rates in Wisconsin.
Representatives of both hospitals were honored at a ceremony in Madison on January 20. They were among 307 hospitals in the country who received this national honor.
To receive this recognition, hospitals must achieve a 75 percent donation rate, meaning that at each of these hospitals at least three-fourths of the people who were eligible to be an organ donor became one.
St. Mary's served seven donors which resulted in 17 organs for transplantation, and UW Hospital served 40 donors resulting in 114 organs donated, from October 1, 2008 to March 31, 2010, the timeline reviewed for the 2010 honor.
The UW Health Organ Procurement Organization (OPO), which provides donation services at 104 hospitals in Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan, had 11 hospitals in their federally designated service area that were eligible to receive the Medal of Honor.
"Our partners at these hospitals are committed to the life-saving gift of organ donation," said Jill Ellefson, executive director at the UW Health OPO. "These professionals recognize the important role they play in serving patients and their families to ensure their gift of life can be honored."
In Wisconsin, almost 1,700 people are currently on the organ waiting list with 40 percent under the age of 50, and 31 under the age of 18.
Because organ donation happens in hospitals throughout the state, the UW Health OPO team, which received a gold medal of honor for their work, travels to hospitals to provide education, leadership, clinical practice and inspiration on organ donation and transplantation best practices.
"Our relationships with our hospital partners are imperative to our state's success," says Ellefson. "Without each hospital's commitment to both ongoing education and sensitive patient communication, the state's organ donation rates would decline and many more people would die while waiting for an organ."
Organ donation facts:
Last year the UW Health OPO worked with 115 donor families, resulting in 443 organs transplanted.
Nationally, more than 110,000 people are on the wait list for a transplant, and a new patient is added to the waiting list every 11 minutes.
Every day in the U.S., 19 people die waiting for their organ transplant.
Up to eight lives can be saved for every organ donor.
To legally authorize organ, tissue and eye donation, register on Wisconsin's Donor Registry at www.YesIWillWisconsin.com .
Even if you already have an orange donor dot on your driver's license, if you haven't registered online or said yes to donation at the DMV since March 29, 2010, please register online today. Tell your family that you support donation, and have registered as a donor.