BOSTON - For the fourth year in a row, BIDMC has received the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Medal of Honor for Organ Donation.
"This award reflects the commitment of numerous BIDMC departments and individuals here and at New England Organ Bank (NEOB) to the many patients awaiting a transplant," said Linda Lentz, Director of Transplant Services at BIDMC's Transplant Institute. "As a representative of the transplant team, I am grateful for the hard work that is done prior to our receiving an organ for one of our patients."
Lentz said every hospital in the country is considered a donor hospital, but only 90 have received the Medal of Honor for Organ Donation four years in a row. Hospitals and organ procurement organizations earn this designation for consistently achieving adjusted donation rates of 75 percent or higher in a single continuous 12-month period, according to Barbara Levine, Hospital Relations Coordinator at the NEOB.
Donation rates refer to the number of patients who are medically suitable to be considered for donation, who actually become donors. For the past four years, BIDMC has met or exceeded this 75 percent rate.
"The award speaks to the committed and coordinated efforts of an entire team of people at BIDMC from administration through line staff," Levine said. "An effective donation process is complex and requires knowledge of the process, commitment and a high degree of coordination and collaboration within BIDMC and between BIDMC and NEOB.
High conversion rates certainly have everything to do with families who consent to donation, but before that can happen, we need hospital staff that understand and carry out the best practices that support a donation event."
Levine said BIDMC has many practices in place to facilitate meeting this goal year after year. The Organ Donation Council meets quarterly and includes staff from the intensive care units, the Emergency Department, the operating rooms, Social Work, Ethics, Pastoral Care, Interpreter Services, Administration and the NEOB.
Surgeon Jonathan Critchlow, MD, chairs this council, which reviews all donation activity and makes process improvements when necessary. Levine said a monthly subgroup meets to identify and work on challenges and improvements in a more grass roots effort. Various other subgroups work on related projects, all with goals of process improvement and quality end-of-life care decision-making.
Reaching the conversion rate is a team effort. Levine said staff from the ICUs, Emergency Department, Social Work, Pastoral Care, Respiratory Therapy and other clinical departments work in collaboration with NEOB to complete the donor testing, medically manage the donor, and evaluate and support potential donors and their families. Then the Transplant Institute staff work with the patients who are recipients of organs that are transplanted. "It is the success of this work that is reflected in the Medal of Honor award," Levine said.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and
consistently ranks among the top four in National Institutes of Health funding among independent hospitals nationwide. BIDMC is clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and is a research partner of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox. For more information, visit