(St. Louis, MO) – A historic number of organ donations in Mid-America Transplant’s service area led to more lives saved than in any other year in its history. Mid-America Transplant facilitated the recovery of 718 lifesaving organs from 223 selfless, heroic organ donors in 2017.
The number of organs made available for transplant in 2017 is 100 more than the organization’s previous high of 618 in 2015. The number of organ donors is a 17 percent increase from the previous record of 190, also in 2015.
“This remarkable achievement would not be possible without the incredible generosity of our donors and donor families,” said Diane Brockmeier, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mid-America Transplant. “We are inspired by their noble act of helping others, especially in a time of unimaginable grief. I am humbled by those who have made life possible for others.”
More people also said yes to tissue donation in 2017 in Mid-America Transplant service area at a record rate of 61 percent. The gifts of cornea, skin, bone, veins, and heart valves from 1,860 generous donors will change tens of thousands of lives for the better.
Mid-America Transplant also experienced a record number of liver and lung donations in 2017. Livers and lungs transplanted from local donors increased about 30% over the previous year. One lung recipient from 2017 shares her inspiring story, which includes the ability to raise her twin four-year-old daughters.
“Our dedicated and skilled staff is passionate about saving lives through organ and tissue donation,” said Dr. Gary Marklin, Chief Medical Officer of Mid-America Transplant. “They are committed to preserving and pursuing every donation opportunity while providing compassionate care to donors and their families. Together, we were able to save more lives.”
This year marks the first year Mid-America Transplant has recovered lifesaving gifts from more than 200 organ donors in a single year. “I recall a time when 50 organ donors and 150 organs transplanted was an extraordinary accomplishment,” said Brockmeier, who joined the organization as a nurse in 1986. “Without the support of our hospital partners, donor families, team members, and peer organizations around the country, we truly could not do this lifesaving work. We are achieving more together.”
The generosity of the region contributed to a record-breaking year nationwide, in which the number of deceased donors topped 10,000 for the first time. The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) reported 34,768 organ transplants were performed in 2017 using organs from both deceased and living donors. UNOS, the non-profit organization that manages the nation’s organ transplant system under contract with the federal government, also reported 10,281 deceased donors in 2017, a 3.1 percent increase from 2016. Mid-America Transplant observed an increase in organ donors of 24 percent over the same time frame.
More than 15 years ago, Mid-America Transplant began its quality journey, through which the organization applied innovative approaches for increasing organs and tissues for transplant. Mid-America Transplant’s commitment to quality was recognized in 2017 by the Midwest Excellence Institute, which named Mid-America Transplant a recipient of the Missouri Quality Award. The organization is a three-time recipient of the honor and a 2015 recipient of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.
Mid-America Transplant’s work in saving lives is built on strong relationships and collaboration with about 120 acute care hospitals and four transplant centers: Barnes-Jewish Hospital, SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center, SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. “We have tremendous relationships with our hospital partners and transplant centers,” said Dr. Marklin. “Their dedication and support of our mission is paramount to making sure more lives are saved.”
We are inspired by the opportunity to save more lives in the years to come. More than 1,400 people in the region and 115,000 nationwide continue to wait for a lifesaving transplant. A record number of guests staying at Family House in 2017 underscores the need for more people to register as organ and tissue donors. Family House offers comfortable, safe and affordable housing for patients and their families who must relocate to St. Louis to receive life-saving pre- and post-transplant care.
Visit www.midamericatransplant.org for more information about organ and tissue donation. You may also register your decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor at RegisterMe.org or in the Medical ID tab of your iPhone Health App.