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Lahey Hospital and Medical Center transplant team honored

Posted by Christina Jedra  April 30, 2013 10:00 AM

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The following was submitted by Lahey Health:

As part of National Donate Life Month, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center hosted its annual reception to bring attention to the need for life-saving transplants and accepted a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) award for increasing organ donation rates.

Transplant recipients were celebrated and organ and tissue donors were honored for making the ultimate gift. They shared powerful storiesand reunited with the surgeons and team that cared for them.  Lahey Hospital & Medical Center’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Richard Nesto accepted the Silver Medal Award from HHS, which was presented by the New England Organ Bank for Lahey Hospital & Medical Center’s work to achieve and sustain national goals for donation, including a donation rate of 75 percent or more of eligible donors at their facilities. 
                                                                              
“Lahey Hospital & Medical Center is proud to be included among the select group of hospitals across the country to receive the HHS award for increasing the number of organs available for transplantation,” said Dr. Nesto. “Our transplant team pioneered living donor liver transplants and is one of the most experienced in kidney and liver transplantation in the Northeast. Every day they look to provide new and better ways to care for organ recipients and teach potential donors about the life-saving impacts of transplantation.”

Members of Lahey Hospital & Medical Center’s Transplant Department performed the first successful liver transplant in New England more than 25 years ago, and have been involved in kidney transplantation since 1970. The team has performed more than 1,700 liver and kidney transplants. Since 1999, the Lahey Hospital & Medical Center live donor liver transplant program has saved more than 250 lives.

“Together with the New England Organ Bank, state motor vehicle departments and Donate Life, we have increased the number of registered donors in New England to more than 5 million," said Dr. Elizabeth Pomfret, chair of the Department of Transplantation at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center. "However, the transplant wait list continues to grow and it’s critical for all of us, including donors and recipients, to continue our public education efforts to increase donations.”

In 2012, the Lahey Hospital & Medical Center Transplant team completed 43 kidney transplants and 44 liver transplants. More than 1,000 lives were saved in New England last year because of the generosity of individuals who became organ donors, and thousands more lives were enhanced through the gift of tissue donation.  However, more than 117,000 patients are now on the US transplant wait list—and educating communities about taking action to register as donors is crucial. The public can sign up through their state donor registry or online at www.DonateLifeNewEngland.org.

Reception attendees shared stories from family members, or in some cases, strangers, who gave the ultimate gift to someone in need including adults who donated organs to children through the  Boston Children’s Hospital program. Dr. Roger Jenkins, the chair of the Lahey Hospital & Medical Center Division of Surgery spoke about the transplant program, and his team introduced the department’s new donor identification program called Breeze Transplant (TM).  Breeze is an online questionnaire that helps prospective liver and kidney donors confidentially determine if they are viable donors. To learn more, please visit www.Lahey-livingdonor.org/.

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