October 30, 2008
||Media contact: Krista Hopson
UMHS receives Organ Donation Medal of Honor
Nashville, Tennessee, October 24, 2008 – The University of Michigan Health System has been awarded an Organ Donation Medal of Honor from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services for its success in raising organ donation rates.
The U-M Health System received the Medal of Honor on Oct. 24 during the Fourth Annual National Learning Congress on Organ Donation and Transplantation in Nashville, Tennessee. The hospital earned the recognition by collaborating with its Gift of Life Michigan partners to achieve the national goal of converting at least 75 percent of eligible deaths into actual organ donors. Each organ and tissue donor can save the lives of up to eight people and enhance the lives of 50 more.
The health system also was recognized for being one of six in the state and just 93 nationwide to have earned the Medal of Honor all four years that it has been awarded.
“The University of Michigan is honored to receive the U.S. Health and Human Services Organ Donation Medal of Honor for the fourth consecutive year,” said Mark Gravel, director of Transplant Center Quality Improvement and Donation Initiatives. “The award reflects the values of our health system and the dedication of our skillful faculty and staff who work each day to improve the lives of our patients and families by providing the highest level of compassionate multidisciplinary care. The University of Michigan is committed to the national collaborative initiatives and will to continue to provide leadership in efforts to increase organ donation and transplantation. I applaud our faculty, staff and collaborative partners.”
Lynda Harwood, Gift of Life Michigan’s
hospital development associate for UMHS, called the honor well-deserved. “This medal symbolizes its commitment to its patients and to saving lives," Harwood said.
UMHS is one of 18 Michigan medical facilities to receive the Medal of Honor for organ donation this year. Its work with Gift of Life is helping to try to close the gap in Michigan between the number of organ donors and the more than 3,000 residents in need of a life-saving organ transplant. Last year, there were a record 301 organ donors in Michigan hospitals, leading to 881 transplants.
In addition, the University of Michigan Health System Transplant Center was noted for achieving two other national goals: It increased the annual volume of deceased donor transplants involving a single major organ by 20 percent; and it decreased the number of days from the referral of a candidate for transplant evaluation to activation.
“The work of our hospital partners never fails to inspire,” said Richard Pietroski, Gift of Life Michigan's executive director. “In Michigan, more than 3,000 people need a life-saving organ transplant. They get that chance for a new life through the generosity of donors and the dedication of hospital staff like these at the University of Michigan Health System.”
To sign up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry and receive a heart sticker on the front of your driver’s license to signify that you want to become an organ and tissue donor, go to www.giftoflifemichigan.org
Gift of Life Michigan is the state’s federally designated full-service organ and tissue recovery organization that acts as the intermediary between donors, physicians and hospital staff.
Written by Tim Makinen, (517) 896-5780 or (800) 482-4881, or email@example.com