Aroostook County – April marks the 11th annual National Donate Life Month, an appropriate time to celebrate the fact that TAMC is meeting and exceeding goals the hospital has set towards referring potential organ and tissue donors in the hopes of saving lives throughout New England.
That news comes from a recent report by the New England Organ and Tissue Bank, the federally-designated, non-profit procurement organization responsible for the surgical recovery of organs and tissues for transplant throughout the New England region. According to the report, TAMC is among the top five hospitals in the state for this referral.
Tina Tompkins, RN, serves as the liaison for the New England Organ and Tissue Bank for TAMC. Part of her role involves education on organ and tissue donation, as well as tracking and ensuring that the hospital is meeting annual goals.
Tompkins reports, “TAMC has a 95 percent timely referral rate, which means we report all deaths in the acceptable time frame. TAMC tissue conversion rate is 36 percent, which means the referrals are possible matches for those waiting for organs and tissues. TAMC beating heart referrals was 14 in 2013, compared to 5 in 2012. This means staff are educated and understand the process for referral.”
All three of the units of measure in the New England Organ and Tissue Bank’s report indicate that TAMC is doing its part to save lives. The numbers are an impressive representation of the hospital’s commitment to its community, state and all of New England.
“Ultimately what this means for TAMC is we are following our intended goals, meeting and sometimes exceeding our goals,” explained Tompkins. “This is exciting as we may have positive matches for those waiting for organ and or tissue donation.”
According to Laura Dempsey of the New England Organ Bank, there are now 112 million registered donors in the United States, over five and half million from New England. Still, the number of people in need of transplants continues to outpace the supply of donated organs. More than 120,000 people are currently awaiting a transplant, and sadly, an average of 18 patients die every day, because the organ they needed was not donated in time. The solution to this problem is to continue educating the public about the lifesaving effects of donation and transplantation and encourage them to sign up through their state donor registry.
“The transplant waiting list is made up of people of all ages,” said Dempsey. “It’s important to show that people of any age can make a powerful difference in someone’s life by being a donor. Donation saves and heals lives every day, but it can only happen when someone makes the important decision to register as an organ and tissue donor. You can make that lifesaving difference by registering your decision to donate.”
To register to be a donor or for more information visit www.DonateLifeNewEngland.org.
Donate Life New England is a public education project sponsored by organizations in New England dedicated to saving and improving lives through organ and tissue donation. These organizations, including New England Organ Bank, have come together to create a fast and easy way for citizens of New England to register as organ and tissue donors in a secure and confidential manner.