CLINTON – MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center (MSMHC) received Silver recognition on Oct. 9 as part of a nationwide program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration to increase participation in state organ donor registries.
The department’s Workplace Partnership for Life Hospital Campaign encouraged hospitals around the country to hold events and activities to increase organ donation awareness throughout the community, with organizations earning points for every measure taken between October 2017 and April 2018.
“MSMHC is proud to support organ donation,” said MSMHC President Christine Wray in a press release. “We humbly thank donors for giving the gift of life, and their families, for supporting their generous decision.
“We thank all physicians and associates who work in units where donations originate, for their professionalism and reverence for this delicate process.”
More than 1,200 hospitals participated in the 2018 campaign promoting organ, eye and tissue donation, according to the department’s website, the highest total in the program’s history. This year’s numbers grew by nine percent from 2017, with nearly 23,700 donor registrations added to state registries and the Puerto Rico registry, which includes registrations from the U.S. Virgin Islands. The campaign has generated 443,427 registrations since its inception in 2011, per the department.
“It’s really significant because every day there are a number of people that are waiting for an organ transplant and unfortunately pass away while they’re waiting for the organ transplant,” said Dr. Katharine Modisett, MSMHC Emergency Medicine, and Critical Care Physician. “Being able to help our families make that connection, and then often that donation is literally life-saving for people in our community.”
In Maryland, 14 hospitals received recognition, which ranges from bronze to silver then gold and platinum.
Holy Cross Hospital and University of Maryland Medical Center both earned Platinum awards, while MSMHC joined six other hospitals with the silver designation. At the national level, 360 Silver awards were given out to participants.
MSHMC worked closely with Washington Regional Transplant Community (WRTC), one of 58 federally designated organ procurement organizations. WRTC directed most of its efforts toward the hospital staff instead of the community, with the idea that increasing awareness within MSHMC would, in turn, have a broader effect on those who visited the hospital.
The group held table events in the MSHMC cafeteria, put up posters throughout the building and hosted in-services for key units.
“We have created a pro-donation culture in the hospital,” said Freddy Medina, the WRTC representative for MSHMC. “We’re educating folks about the process, and the hospital culture for donation just becomes positive because they’re more aware, they’re more knowledgeable that their specific hospital has a role in that process.”
The MSMHC team heavily involved itself in the community with a variety of Donate Life programs, in addition to monthly information sessions to spread the message. The hospital often brings in recipients to speak about the power of donation.
“It’s always about bringing more awareness,” said Renee Sicheri, MSMHC RN and member of the MSMHC ICU team. “Making sure that we are capturing every patient that could potentially be a donor patient.”
Sichiri has a personal connection to the issue, as her brother-in-law suffered a hemorrhagic stroke and became an organ donor. His contributions were able to assist seven people.
To continue the success of the campaign and place an even greater significance on organ donation, the MSMHC leadership team is working on developing an “honor walk” to pay tribute to donors and their families. Sichiri said a song would be played and everyone available in the hospital would gather at the Intensive Care Unit.
“We would all just line up and honor the patient as they are going into the O.R., the family, of course, being with them,” Sichiri said. “Just a moment of silence to pay respect to this patient and the great things that are gonna happen.”