November 4, 2010

VUMC lauded for organ donation efforts

VUMC lauded for organ donation efforts

Vanderbilt University Medical Center was presented with the Silver Medal of Honor for its success in reaching and exceeding national goals for organ donation during this week's sixth National Learning Congress, held Nov. 3.

The awards ceremony is in recognition of the nation's hospitals that have successfully increased the number of organs available for transplant.

Since 2005, Vanderbilt has improved its donor conversion rate, moving from 64 percent to 78.7 percent in 2010. Conversion rates are determined by the actual number of patients from the potential patient population able to successfully become donors.

“The award is for our performances as a donor hospital,” said C. Lee Parmley, M.D., J.D., executive medical director of VUMC Critical Care Units.

“It is a real acknowledgement of the folks in our Intensive Care Units who take care of patients at the end of life. This is for them, so that they can see what a good job they are doing. It feels good to be a part of such a team.

“I am pleased to see the numbers are going up,” he said. “It is evidence that there is an increase in awareness and interest in helping others at the end of life.”

Vanderbilt was honored for reaching the 78.7 percent conversion rate and a 12.2 percent DCD rate (donation after cardiac death) rate.

The hospital's performance was based on two of the three parameters established by the Health Resources and Services Administration: achieving and sustaining donation rates of 75 percent or higher; obtaining a 10 percent DCD rate or higher; and increasing the number of organs donated per individual donor to 3.75 or higher.

“It takes all of us working together as a team — the hospital and the organ procurement organization — to make this process run smoothly so that we can provide the best outcomes,” said Meredith Potts, hospital services coordinator for Tennessee Donor Services.

“In 2009, 54 individuals at the Medical Center made the remarkable gift of a lifetime and became donors,” Potts said.

“Their legacy resulted in 181 life-saving gifts to people waiting and hoping for another chance. It is a great honor for Vanderbilt to be acknowledged because it symbolizes the Medical Center's continued support of a patient's or family's decision to provide the ultimate gift through organ and tissue donation.”