published Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

Erlanger receives organ donor award

Erlanger hospital has been awarded an Organ Donation Medal of Honor from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for its organ donation rates, according to a news release.

Erlanger and Tennessee Donor Services received the award for exceeding a donation rate of 77 percent from June 2007 to May 2008, the release stated.

This year the Department of Health and Human Services honored 412 hospitals for their success in increasing organ donation rates at their facilities, according to the department. Medal-winning hospitals had at least eight potential organ donors during the award period and sustained a donation rate of 75 percent or more from among eligible donors for at least a year.

There are more than 100,000 people on the national waiting list for an organ, and about 18 of them die every day. In Tennessee, there are more than 2,000 people waiting for an organ donation, according to Tennessee Donor Services.

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Your story about Organ Donation highlighted the tragic shortage of human organs for transplant operations.

Over half of the 100,000 Americans on the national transplant waiting list will die before they get a transplant. Most of these deaths are needless. Americans bury or cremate 20,000 transplantable organs every year.

There is a simple way to put a big dent in the organ shortage – give donated organs first to people who have agreed to donate their own organs when they die.

Giving organs first to organ donors will convince more people to register as organ donors. It will also make the organ allocation system fairer. People who aren't willing to share the gift of life should go to the back of the waiting list as long as there is a shortage of organs.

Anyone who wants to donate their organs to others who have agreed to donate theirs can join LifeSharers. LifeSharers is a non-profit network of organ donors who agree to offer their organs first to other organ donors when they die. Membership is free at or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88. There is no age limit, parents can enroll their minor children, and no one is excluded due to any pre-existing medical condition. LifeSharers has over 12,000 members at this writing, including 399 members in Tennessee.

Please contact me - Dave Undis, Executive Director of LifeSharers - if your readers would like to learn more about our innovative approach to increasing the number of organ donors. I can arrange interviews with some of our local members if you're interested. My email address is My phone number is 615-351-8622.

May 2, 2009 at 12:58 p.m.
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