Hospital Recognized for Organ Donations
New Britain [September 13 2006] -
New Britain General Hospital has earned the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Medal of Honor for success in facilitating organ donations.
In 2005, the hospital achieved a success rate of 87 percent. The goal set by the HHS as part of the national organ donation initiative is 75 percent. Only 300 hospitals nationwide have achieved this goal or better. The average for hospitals throughout the U.S. is 60 percent.
“We are very proud of this recognition,” said Dr. Michael McNamee, director of the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.
“In the Intensive Care Unit, our first priority is to save lives and preserve function. And our ICU has been recognized for its outstanding work in terms of our survival rate.” But, says Dr. McNamee, when all other interventions have failed and brain death occurs, there is an opportunity to save other lives.
“One of our other major functions is to provide the support and the information to allow families to opt to donate. Even though these families are in the midst of one of the worst times of their lives, they get tremendous satisfaction out of giving others a second chance at life,” he says.
“Nineteen people are alive because the families of seven patients made a critical decision and donated organs.” From the seven donor patients in 2005, 19 people benefited.
Life choice Donor Services is a nationwide organization that handles the actual donations. After a family has made the decision to donate and the hospital has done completed the testing to make sure organs are eligible, Life Choice comes in with a team that includes transplant surgeons. “They counsel the family, and we work with them to make sure everything goes smoothly and the organs can be protected,” Dr. McNamee says. The donated organs usually go somewhere in the region, but can be sent anywhere in the U.S.
People are more aware of the possibility of organ donations than they were 10 to 20 years ago, Dr. McNamee says. He emphasizes that to donate a living organ is a major undertaking.
“There is a huge collaborative effort on the part of intensive care physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and respiratory therapists to make sure the organs are protected and preserved until they can be given to someone in need,” he says.
The most common organs needed are: kidneys, heart, pancreas, liver, and lungs.
The HHS Medal of Honor will be presented by U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Ken Moritsugu at the Second Annual Learning Congress in October. Representing the hospital to accept the award will be Joseph Kambe, MD; Stacey Pizzuto, RN; and Anna Oliveira, RN.
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