The Gift of Time to Donate

UW Hospital and Clinics transplant surgeon Anthony D'AllesandroMADISON - University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics and University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation will join with Dane County in offering its non-represented employees paid time off if they choose to donate an organ.


"Donating an organ is not just one of the most selfless acts a person can undertake, but it's also one of the most important," says Donna Katen-Bahensky, President and CEO of UW Hospital and Clinics. "We want to make it as easy as possible for our employees, who are already some of the most giving and caring individuals with whom I've ever worked, to be able to make this important gift."

While health insurance generally pays most of the medical costs involved with organ donation, there are other costs that often make potential donors reluctant to come forward, including lost work income during preparation and post-surgical recovery.

"That's what a policy like this would directly address," says Katen-Bahensky.

Dr. Tony D'Alessandro, (pictured) head of UW Hospital's pediatric kidney transplant program and its organ procurement organization, notes that kidneys and livers from living donors have a higher rate of transplant success and also last longer. Nationally, the number of living organ donations dipped more than 15 percent last year.

"Organ transplant is also more cost-effective than long-term dialysis," says Dr. D'Alessandro. "It's really in the best interest of the patient."

Details of the UW Hospital and UW Medical Foundation's organ-donation leave policy will be discussed and finalized in the coming months. An ordinance is currently before the Dane County Board that would allow county employees to take as much as five days to donate bone marrow and 30 days to donate an organ.

Date Published: 03/17/2010

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