UW Hospital Honored for Organ Donation Efforts


UW Health OPO Medal PresentationMADISON - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Organ Transplantation Breakthrough Collaborative recently recognized UW Hospital and Clinics with a National Medal of Honor for their work to improve organ donation rates in Wisconsin.


The UW Hospital and Clinics Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) was also honored for their work to improve donation rates in their federally assigned, tri-state service area.


Representatives from UW Hospital and Clinics, and the 11 other hospitals in the UW OPO service area who also received this national honor, were recognized at a ceremony in Madison on November 5.


To receive this recognition, hospitals must achieve a 75 percent donation rate, meaning that at these hospitals at least three-fourths of the people who were eligible to be an organ donor became one. The average in the UW OPO service area was 88 percent. The national average is just 71 percent. The team at UW Hospital achieved a 100 percent conversion rate in 2008.


"Our partners at these hospitals are committed to the life-saving work we do," said Anthony D'Alessandro, medical director at the UW OPO and interim chair of the UW Health Transplant program. "They recognize the important role they play in serving organ donors and their families. People can decide if they'll give the ultimate gift of life, and that's a life-or-death decision for the people who are waiting for a transplant."

In Wisconsin, more than 1,500 people are currently on the organ waiting list, 40 percent are under the age of 50, and 30 of these people are under the age of 18.

Adds D'Alessandro, "Wisconsin has a reputation as a national leader in organ donation largely due to the work of the nurses, physicians and staff in these hospitals. Their ongoing commitment to donation has saved thousands of lives."

Because organ donation happens in hospitals throughout the state, the UW Health OPO, which received three awards for its work, serves 104 hospitals in Wisconsin, upper Michigan and the Rockford area. The OPO team 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 our success," says D'Alessandro. "Without each hospital's commitment to both ongoing education and sensitive patient communication, the state's organ donation rates would decline and many more people would die while waiting for an organ donor."


Pictured above are (left to right): Dr. D'Alessandro, professional snowborder and liver transplant recipient Chris Klug, Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Associate Dean for Hospital Affairs Carl Getto, Senior Vice President, Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer Maureen McCausland, UW Health neurosciences nurse manager Pat Chesmore, RN and Director of Nursing Practice Innovation Dianne Danis, MS, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN.

Date Published: 11/16/2009

News tag(s):  transplantopoanthony m dalessandroouruwhealth

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