Lutheran Hospital and Indiana Organ Procurement Organization Celebrate IOPO's 20-Year Anniversary

Fort Wayne, Ind. (Jan. 15, 2008) — Lutheran Hospital proudly saluted the Indiana Organ Procurement Organization today for its two-decade commitment to helping hospitals save lives through organ donation and transplantation. Representatives from the hospital and IOPO gathered in the Lutheran Heart Pavilion, to unveil a custom-made piece of art incorporating the donor medal given to donor families upon completion of their unparalleled act of generosity. The purpose of the art is to recognize the 20-year relationship with IOPO and to remind people of the importance of being an organ donor. A banner with the "Donate Life" message will be raised and visible at the hospital's west side which faces I-69.

"We value having Lutheran, one of the area's largest hospitals show its commitment to organ donation in such visible ways," said Lynn Driver, CEO of the Indiana Organ Procurement Organization. "Lutheran Hospital and IOPO have a long history of working closely with donor and recipient families to streamline the organ donation and transplantation process. We appreciate working with such hospitals as they are as equally dedicated to our mission, which includes making the process easier for everyone, especially the families."

For almost all of the 23 years Lutheran has been providing organ transplants for patients in the region, it has been fortunate to team with the dedicated professionals from IOPO to educate the public about the essential role organ donation plays in the lives of hundreds of Indiana patients each year.

In October 2007, Joe Dorko, president and CEO of Lutheran Hospital, Mary Ellen Brill, chief quality officer, Margaret Scatena, executive director of cardiac and vascular services, Melissa Skalicky, professional services coordinator for IOPO and several others represented Lutheran at a meeting of the Transplant Growth and Management Collaborative in Nashville, Tenn., where select hospitals shared ways to move best practices to common practices across the country. Leaders at the collaborative conference challenged attendees to commit to improving the process for organ donation nationwide. Lutheran Hospital has resolved to contribute to this national challenge.

"For several years, Lutheran Hospital hasbeen involved with national efforts toshare the experiencewe've gained over two decades of offering transplants to patients of this region," Dorko said. "This life-changing, life-saving resource would not bepossible without a total commitment to educating the public about the importance of organ donation. We are humbled that more than 300 lives have been saved due to organ donation at Lutheran since IOPO began 20 years ago."

In an effort to improve the organ donation rate, Lutheran Hospital has implemented annual, continuing education for all nurses and required in-services for all new nursing personnel. Monthly organ donor council meetings, with representatives from various units at Lutheran and IOPO, have also been implemented.

"Being an organ donor is one of the single most important ways everyone can make a difference and truly help save at least one, if not multiple lives," said Joseph Ladowski, MD, Lutheran Hospital Heart Transplant Director and cardiovascular surgeon with Indiana-Ohio Heart. "We only benefit our community by furthering the mission of organ donation. It starts with awareness and is often carried through by sensitive medical staff."

In 2007, IOPO had 128 donors that allowed for 433 successful organ transplants. IOPO also handled 376 tissue donors. Lutheran Hospital has had more than 107 organ donors, which resulted in 327 recipients being given a second chance at life through the miracle of transplant. Lutheran had 11 heart transplants and 17 kidney transplants in 2007.

Nationally, one person is added to the organ waiting list every 12 minutes, and 17 people die each day while awaiting a suitable match. Donation also includes corneas and tissue.One in 25 Americans is projected to be the recipient of vision or orthopedic repairs.Everyone is encouraged to visit and register as an organ donor.

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