Organ transplants save about 77 lives each day in the United States, but another 19 people die every day because a suitable organ is not available for them.
Washington Regional recently received a Medal of Honor from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for its success in increasing the number of organs available for life-saving transplants. Washington Regional was the only hospital in Northwest Arkansas to be recognized for achieving and sustaining national organ donation goals, including a donation rate of 75 percent or more of eligible donors.
"Our partnership with Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency (ARORA) is key to our success in increasing life-saving donations," says Sheryl Davis, director of critical care at Washington Regional. "We are very fortunate at Washington Regional to have an in-house coordinator for ARORA who works closely with our donor families and also provides important education to our staff." HHS's Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which leads federal efforts to increase organ and tissue donation, has spotlighted the importance of including donor designation specialists and in-house coordinators in hospitals' efforts to increase donation rates at their facilities. Washington Regional has the only in-house coordinator in Northwest Arkansas.
Because the need for organs is so great, Washington Regional also appointed an organ donation committee-led by physicians, nurses, chaplains, case managers and ARORA representatives-to implement a 5-year plan to create awareness of the organ donation program, increase the number of donations and honor the generosity of donor families.