OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center honored by U.S. HHS for organ donation efforts

February 9, 2011

From press release

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently recognized OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center with a National Medal of Honor for their work to improve organ donation. Saint Anthony was honored at a ceremony Jan. 20 hosted by the UW Organ Procurement Organization, the program that partners with Saint Anthony to serve organ donors and their families. Saint Anthony Medical Center was among 307 hospitals in the country that received this national honor.

To receive this recognition, hospitals must achieve a 75-percent donation rate, meaning that at Saint Anthony at least three-fourths of the people who were eligible to be an organ donor became one. Saint Anthony served 10 donors, which resulted in 32 organs for transplantation from Oct. 1, 2008, to March 31, 2010, the timeline reviewed for the 2010 honor.

The UW Organ Procurement Organization had 11 hospitals in their federally-designated service area that were eligible to receive the Medal of Honor. Saint Anthony accepts their award for the sixth consecutive year.

“Our partners at Saint Anthony are committed to the life-saving gift of organ donation,” said Jill Ellefson, executive director at the UW Health OPO. “These professionals recognize the important role they play in partnering with us to serve patients and their families to ensure the gift of life can be honored.”

In Illinois, more than 4,800 people are on the organ waiting list, including almost 40 percent younger than 50, and 85 children.

Because organ donation happens in hospitals throughout their service area, the UW Health OPO team, which received a gold medal of honor, travels to hospitals to provide education, leadership, clinical practice and inspiration on organ donation and transplantation best practices.

“Our relationships with our hospital partners are imperative to successful donation service,” says Ellefson. “Without each hospital’s commitment to this partnership, including ongoing education and sensitive patient communication, the nation’s organ donation rates would decline, and many more people would die while waiting for an organ.”

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