Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Grady Hospital Awarded Medal of Honor for Organ Donor Program

Grady Health System today announced the receipt of a National Medal of Honor from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for saving lives through organ donation in 2009. More than 104,000 are people listed for an organ transplant nationwide; in Georgia close to 3,000 people are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. For the third year in a row, Grady received this special recognition for achieving and sustaining national organ donation goals.

Grady works closely with LifeLink of Georgia, a non-profit community service organization dedicated to the recovery of life-saving and life-enhancing organs and tissue for transplantation therapy, to develop best practices for sensitively encouraging organ donation. In the past four years, Grady has seen continued success in donation rates. Because of this, the hospital has achieved a donation rate of 75 percent or more of eligible donors during a 22-month award period (ending in April 2009). The conversion rate is the number of successful donors divided by the number of eligible donors.

“When we joined the collaborative in 2003, our conversion rate was about 38 percent,” said Gaynell Miller, vice president of Patient Care Services and Grady’s organ donation collaborative champion. “By implementing best practices, we met the national goal of 75% conversion rate in 2006 and sustained it for the following year which made us eligible for our first award in 2007. Since then we have been able to exceed and sustain the national organ donor conversion rate and, in so doing, have helped save countless lives. We are very proud to be receiving an award for the 3rd year in a row, because this is validation that we have respected the patients’ and families’ rights to have this end of life choice and participated in making more organs available for those in need.”

Every day, about 77 people get a transplant that gives them a second chance, but nearly 19 others die because then they did not. Chances of getting a transplant increase if a donor and recipient share the same racial and ethnic backgrounds, but more than half of the people on the waiting list for a donated organ are racial or ethnic minorities. Grady’s organ donation program includes a special focus on helping families understand the donation process and deal with the difficult questions that may come up, including religious, ethnic and medical concerns.

For information about the National Learning Congress and the Medal of Honor visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at www.organdonor.gov. To learn more about organ and tissue donation in Georgia visit LifeLink at www.lifelinkfound.org/ga and to designate your decision to be an organ, tissue and eye donor sign-up on Donate Life Georgia’s Organ and Tissue Donor Registry at www.donatelifegeorgia.org or call 1-866-57-SHARE (74273).

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