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Baystate Recognized for Encouraging Organ Donations

August 26, 2016
Donate Life award

Baystate Medical Center (BMC) is among a select group of hospitals nationwide recognized for promoting enrollment in state organ donor registries in a national campaign sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

The region’s only Level 1 Trauma Center, BMC achieved the highest level of recognition – platinum – as part of HRSA’s Workplace for Life Hospital Campaign, a nationwide effort to increase the number of registered organ, tissue and eye donors with hospital partners and ultimately, the number of organs available for transplant. Only three hospitals in Massachusetts received the platinum recognition, including Baystate Franklin Medical Center.

Baystate Medical Center conducted awareness and registry campaigns to educate staff, patients, visitors, and community members about the critical need for organ, eye, and tissue donors and, by doing so, increased the number of potential donors on the state’s donor registry. The hospital earned points for each activity implemented between May 2015 and April 2016.

400,000 New Donors Nationwide

More than 1,000 hospitals, hospital associations, and donation organizations participated in the most recent phase of the campaign registering 43,932 donors nationwide. Some 400,000 donors have been added to state registries nationwide since the campaign began in 2011.

“At Baystate Medical Center our promise is ‘Together we deliver a higher state of caring.’ Providing education and supporting events that result in increasing the numbers of persons in our state donor registry contributes to our delivering on this promise. When a patient and their family are given the gift of life through organ donation, we are reminded why our partnership with Life Choice Donor Services and Donate Life America is priceless,” said Vernette Townsend, RN, MSN, director, Medical Nursing and Transplant Services at Baystate Medical Center.

The campaign unites donation advocates at hospitals with representatives from their local organ procurement organizations, Donate Life America affiliates, and state and regional hospital associations. Working together, the teams leverage their communications resources and outreach efforts to most effectively spread word of the critical need for donors.

A True Collaboration

Baystate worked with LifeChoice Donor Services, headquartered in Connecticut, on the campaign.

“Receiving Platinum Recognition is a true testament to the collaborative efforts between Baystate Medical Center and LifeChoice Donor Services. Our shared commitment to saving lives is evident through the numerous donation-related activities and donor enrollment events that we were honored to take part in,” said Wendy Fitt, in house donation coordinator, LifeChoice Donor Services.

Making your wishes known is easy. Potential donors need only to sign a donor card, indicating their wishes on their driver’s license, or register online.

Let Your Family Members Know

However, while a signed donor card, online registration and a driver’s license with an “organ donor” designation are legal documents, organ and tissue donation should always be discussed with family members prior to any donation, so they are well aware of your wishes.

Baystate Medical Center offers the only Transplant Services in western Massachusetts for adult and pediatric patients requiring kidney transplants, with some 136 patients currently on the waiting list.

Today, more and more people are making a difference in someone’s life by becoming a living kidney donor, offering a child or adult in western Massachusetts an alternative to waiting on the national transplant list for a kidney from a deceased donor. Those altruistic donors will be donating one of their two healthy kidneys, and after the transplant surgery will resume normal, active lives.

To Become A Living Kidney Donor

To learn more about becoming a living kidney donor, call Baystate Medical Center’s Transplant Services at 413-794-2321. To learn more about organ and tissue donation, contact LifeChoice Donor Services at 1-800-874-5215.