Tissue demand driving growth at LifeNet Health

Daily Press | Prue Salasky

In a room at the rear of LifeNet Health's main building, a maze of futuristic white corridors, a mesh laundry bag carries a label designating it as donor number 4,254 in 2015. It's filled with different-sized bags, their tissue contents — bone, tendon, left gracilis, etc — wrapped in thick plastic and all bar-coded for identification.

The bag will be stored alongside 1,100 others in a freezer set at -70 degrees Celsius. Across the corridor, technicians work in an array of 10 sterile, bright-white rooms processing tissue for transplantation from 6,000 donors annually.

"It's completely altruistic. They're so generous. They entrust us with these incredible gifts," said Robin Cowherd, director of donor family services.

Every hospital in its service region is charged with contacting LifeNet — one of 53 federally designated Organ Procurement Organizations, OPOs, in the country — to report a death. If it involves a potential organ donor, then representatives contact the family. Continue reading