by Ashley Rader | The Elizabethon Star
The flag will fly in front of the hospital for the entire month of April and was raised Friday morning during a brief ceremony outside the hospital.
SSH CEO Dwayne Taylor noted this was the first time in the 15 years he had been with the hospital that anything had been done to recognize Donate Life month.
"On one side of the equation, a family is very happy," Taylor said, referring to the donor/recipient relationship. "On the other side, a family is devastated but they are also glad that they were able to help."
Melanie Stanton, director of nursing at SSH, said Brenda Wisenhunt, one of the registered nurses at the hospital, brought up the topic of doing something to correspond with the month. Wisenhunt serves as SSH representative on the committee concerned with organ donation.
"I asked them if they thought we could do something here at Sycamore Shoals," Wisenhunt said. "They thought it was a good idea."
Stanton stated she hoped the attention to the Donate Life cause would bring additional focus and would raise awareness on organ donation.
"This is a celebration of the past and future lives that will be touched by organ donation," she said.
Holly Isom with Tennessee Donor Services stated there are over 100,000 people across the country waiting for an organ transplant and there are close to 25,000 waiting in Tennessee alone. It is estimated that 78 transplant surgeries take place daily. Currently, there are over 5,500 people from Carter County registered to be an organ donor.
Her hope is the focus on organ donation will increase the number of donors from Carter County and will increase the public's knowledge on organ donation.
"Not only does organ donation give a second chance at life but it can help the donor family through the tragedy of losing their loved one," Isom said.
After the flag raising ceremony, the opportunity to sign up as an organ donor was given. Hospital staff noted that Carter County Sheriff Chris Mathes was one of the first people to sign up.
Other information was available to help explain organ donation and to dispel some of the myths about it.