Skip to contents
In This Issue:
BWH has had its best year for organ donation yet, with a record number of 14 organ donors able to give 49 organs, and 27 tissue donors, each of whom help as many as 200 patients.
“The Brigham’s success happens unit by unit, staff person by staff person on the front lines where the work gets done,” said Richard Luskin, president and CEO of the New England Organ Bank (NEOB), during a celebration at BWH last week to honor those who make life-saving transplants a possibility through organ donation.
BWH’s consistently high rates of organ donation in the last year earned the hospital the medal of honor from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The medal is awarded to hospitals and organ procurement organizations that convert at least 75 percent of eligible donors to actual donors. BWH’s conversion rate (the ratio of actual donors to potential donors) has been as high as 92 percent between Oct. 1, 2006, and Sept. 30, 2007—an impressive rate, according to Luskin.
“This is a Brigham team effort in every way,” said Nobel Prize winner Joseph Murray, MD, who performed the world’s first organ transplant at BWH in 1954 and attended last week’s ceremony as a special guest. “It’s a great place to be a part of.”
BWH officially received the medal last month in Nashville during the Organ Donation Breakthrough Collaborative Learning Congress. Shaun Golden, BSN, RN, CNRN, nurse manager of the Neuroscience ICU, Martha Burke, MSW, LICSW, director of Social Work and Clinical Services, Kathleen Gallivan, PhD, director of Chaplaincy, Chief Medical Officer Andy Whittemore, MD, and Kevin Kiely of NEOB collected the award on behalf of BWH.
“Our success is testament to all the staff who work so hard during very emotionally demanding times to make organ donation a possibility for our patients and families,” Golden said. “We are humbled by the generosity of those families who, even in the most difficult time of their lives, make a decision that saves lives.”
Two courageous families and the dedicated staff of BWH and NEOB already have set the tone for this year. The first donor of the year beginning Oct. 1 produced seven organs, and the second donor eight—the most organs any person can donate, and an incredibly rare occurrence in the U.S.
“What we’ve accomplished in the last few weeks is a tremendous tribute to the hundreds of people who made it possible,” Whittemore said.
From left, BWH’s Mark Bouthot, Andy Whittemore, Shaun Golden, Kathleen Gallivan, Joseph Murray, Martha Burke and the NEOB’s Kevin Kiely and Jennifer Connors celebrate a successful year for organ donation.