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Lutheran Hospital Sets Records in Eye, Tissue and Organ Donation Prompting Recognition from State Organizations

Lutheran Health Network Celebrates National Donate Life Month by Participating in Flags Across America

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Wednesday, Mar. 25, 2009) — Today Lutheran Hospital accepted a Gold Medal of Honor, awarded by Indiana Organ Procurement Organization on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The award is based on the hospital's commitment and contributions to organ and tissue donation over the past five years. Only a handful of other hospitals in the state share that honor and none in northeastern Indiana.

Lutheran Hospital helped to procure 32 life-saving organ transplants in 2008, a 55 percent increase over organ donors in 2007. In addition, Lutheran set a record for the highest number of corneal donors ever, increasing the number by 60 percent in just one year. As a result, Indiana Lions Eye and Tissue Transplant Bank presented a Sight-tation of Merit award to Lutheran.

"As the region's only heart and kidney transplant center, Lutheran experiences firsthand the life-saving difference that can be made from organ and tissue donation," said Joe Dorko, CEO, Lutheran Hospital. "We will fly the Donate Life flag throughout April to pay tribute to organ, tissue and eye donors and their families who have generously helped others live. Our community wouldn't have the benefits of our transplant program without them."

Since the first heart was transplanted in 1985, 257 hearts have been transplanted. The progress of the heart transplant program prompted a kidney transplant program to be added in June 2007, providing 45 transplants to date.

"We credit Lutheran's ability to work well with our staff, Lion's Eye and families working through the delicate decision that most often results in comfort during the grieving process," said Lynn Driver, CEO, Indiana Organ Procurement Organization.

"Because of Lutheran Hospital's efforts, it was possible for 106 patients to have the 'gift of sight' in 2008," said Dianne Hansen, hospital development coordinator, ILETTB. "We applaud Lutheran's obvious commitment to tissue and organ donation as a leader in our area." 

Lutheran will celebrate Donate Life month beginning at 2 p.m. in the Heart Pavilion. The observance will conclude with an outdoor flag-raising ceremony at the flag poles near the front entrance of the hospital. Donor families will be available for interviews with the media. Dupont Hospital, St. Joseph Hospital and other LHN facilities will also have flag-raising ceremonies today. St. Joe's will occur at 10 a.m., while Dupont's ceremony will take place at 12:45 p.m.

More than 1,000 people in Indiana are currently waiting for an organ transplant.

A person is added to the list every 12 minutes.

Eighteen people pass away daily while awaiting a suitable organ match (mostly waiting for kidneys).

One in 25 Americans is projected to be the recipients for vision or orthopaedic repairs.

To become an organ donor, individuals may register online at donatelifeindiana.org.


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