Hospitals honored
for organ donation

Four Hawaii hospitals have been recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for substantially raising the organ donation rates of people who died in their facilities last year.

Maui Memorial Medical Center raised its donation rate to 78 percent over 12 months -- one of 120 hospitals nationally to reach that goal -- and was awarded the Medal of Honor for Organ Donation.

Also recognized were the Queen's Medical Center, which achieved an 80 percent rate for six consecutive months; Kaiser Medical Center, which reached 67 percent, and Straub Clinic and Hospital, which reached 50 percent.

Organ procurement organizations partnered with hospitals in an Organ Donation Breakthrough Collaborative in 2003 to increase organ donation rates.

Hawaii's donation rate before the collaborative was 42 percent; nationally it was 55 percent. In 2004-2005, Hawaii's organ donation rate increased by 15 percent; nationally, it went up 10.8 percent.

The Organ Donor Center of Hawaii works with the medical facilities, conducting education campaigns and serving as the first point of contact in hospitals for families of patients who die and become eligible donors.

"We're so thrilled that the collaborative has led to such a pronounced increase in donations and congratulate the many individuals who worked hard for these results," said Organ Donor Center executive director Darryl Ing.

"Just one organ donor can save the lives of as many as eight people and improve the lives of more than 50 others, so every new donor makes a big difference. The Organ Donor Center coordinates the recovery of organs and tissue for transplants.

"Here in Hawaii," Ing added, "hundreds of people's lives are dependent upon receiving an organ. Hopefully, the generosity of our communities will continue so we can help more people in need."

The Organ Donor Center works with health facilities to coordinate the recovery of organs and tissue for transplant by evaluating potential donors, offering families the option of donation and placing organs with people on the organ transplant wait list, according to nationally established criteria.

The center also provides programs that offer referral and support to donor families and education to the public and health professionals.

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