Dr. Mary Case Receives Gift of Sight Award
Posted June 6, 2016 in News Category
Dr. Mary E. Schmidt Case, Chief Medical Examiner for St. Louis, Franklin, St. Charles and Jefferson counties, is an exceptional advocate for corneal and tissue donation. Through her leadership, Dr. Case has made possible the gift of sight for thousands of transplant recipients by collaborating with Mid-America Transplant’s Eye Bank.
Supportive of donation for more than 25 years as medical examiner, Dr. Case was recognized Friday night with the Gift of Sight Award at the Eye Bank Association of America’s (EBAA) 55th Annual Meeting at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark.
The Gift of Sight Award is presented to an individual or group who works closely with the eye banking community and has gone above and beyond in support of eye and corneal donation. This award honors a person who has had an impact on eye banking and made an extraordinary contribution to sight restoration.
With the family’s consent, she allows donation to begin before an autopsy and expeditiously releases preliminary causes of death to make corneas available for transplant. “If donation is something the family gives permission to do, and precludes me from ever finding out why their loved one died, I’m OK with that,” Dr. Case said. “Is helping others not a greater need than finding out why someone has died?”
Dr. Case has developed a culture supportive of donation in the medical examiner’s offices, providing donation opportunities and materials to families along with grief/bereavement resources and highlights donation on the office’s website. “You only have to see one person who has received an organ or a tissue to understand the value,” Dr. Case said. “In my own office, I have a man who received corneas. I have a close friend who received a kidney.
The Eye Bank Association of America, established in 1961, is the oldest transplant association in the nation and champions the restoration of sight through corneal transplantation. EBAA has led the transplantation field with the establishment of medical standards for the distribution of eyes and comprehensive training and certification programs for eye banking personnel. Over 80 member eye banks operate in the United States, Canada and Asia. These eye banks made possible 76,431 sight-restoring corneal transplants in 2014, and the opportunity to perform more transplants is significant because virtually everyone is a universal donor. The function of corneal tissue is not dependent on blood type, age, strength of eyesight or the color of the eye. To learn more, visit www.restoresight.org.