OCT. 22, 2012

Stanford Hospital receives gold medal for leadership in organ donation

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded Stanford Hospital & Clinics a Gold Medal of Honor for its lifesaving work to increase the number of organs available for transplantation.

One of 22 hospitals in the country and one of four hospitals in California that earned a gold medal, Stanford Hospital surpassed national goals by improving donation rates, and expanding clinical processes for recovering organs.  

The hospital was recognized at a ceremony Oct. 4 at the seventh National Learning Congress for the Donation and Transplantation Community of Practice held in Grapevine, Texas. Stanford Hospital social worker Timothy Chamberlain accepted the award with colleague and assistant patient care manager Maureen Fay, RN.

"This award is a testimony of Stanford's commitment to honoring patients' wishes and rights to help save the lives of others," said Chamberlain, who assists patients' families with end-of-life issues. "It speaks to the tireless work our bedside nurses, operating room staff and doctors do to help in this important process. But, most of all, this award honors the incredible people who volunteered to be organ and tissue donors and the families who agreed — even in the midst of grief and loss — to give the gift of life to total strangers."

Castro Valley resident Jennifer Julian, 54, who received a double lung transplant at Stanford Hospital in 2006 and a second chance at life thanks to an anonymous donor, echoed Chamberlain's sentiments. "The donor family made that very difficult choice to turn their loss into life for others — for people like me," Julian said. "If not for their selflessness, I wouldn't be able to breathe on my own today. They are true heroes."

Today there are more than 110,000 people on the UNOS National Organ Transplant Waiting List. "Of those waiting, one in three will die due to the organ shortage," said Carlos Esquivel, MD, PhD, chief of Stanford's transplantation division. "So, the work that we at Stanford and others involved in organ donation are doing to reduce the number of people on this list is crucial."

Cindy Siljestrom, chief executive officer of the California Transplant Donor Network, which works with Stanford and other hospitals in Northern and Central California and Northern Nevada counties on facilitating organ and tissue donation for transplantation, said, "CTDN is pleased to share in recognizing Stanford. What we see each day in working with them is a commitment to the idea that lives are saved and improved through organ and tissue donation."

About 10,000 people are waiting for organs in the area served by CTDN alone. Eight people potentially can be saved because of organs from a single deceased donor, and that same donor can improve the lives of more than 50 people through tissue donation. People can register as a donor by going to http://ctdn.org.

Stanford Medicine integrates research, medical education and patient care at its three institutions - Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford. For more information, please visit the Office of Communication & Public Affairs site at http://mednews.stanford.edu/.

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