The Mid-America Transplant Foundation Donates $42,250 to Springfield Hospitals in Memory of Deceased Physicians

Posted June 6, 2016 in News Category
mercyA donation to Mercy Hospital Springfield from the Mid-America Transplant Foundation will fund educational programs for hospital employees in the area of healthcare ethics, in memory of the deceased Dr. Robert Saylor. Pictured left to right: Dr. Alan Scarrow, president of Mercy Springfield Communities; Robert Bezanson, chairman of the board at Mid-America Transplant; Marcie Saylor, widow of the late Dr. Saylor; Linda Bollenbach, consultor for Mercy’s ethics department; Jean Gruetzemacher, vice president of the Mercy Health Foundation in Springfield; Diane Brockmeier, president and CEO at Mid-America Transplant; Judy Phillips, board member.

ST. LOUIS (June 7, 2016) – Today, the Mid-America Transplant Foundation presented two donations totaling $42,250 to CoxHealth and Mercy Hospital Springfield. The donations were made in memory of two of Mid-America Transplant’s long-time board members who were associated with the health systems: Dr. Thomas Briggs, a neurological surgeon at CoxHealth, and Dr. Robert Saylor, a nephrologist who more recently served as the director of ethics at Mercy. Both physicians passed away in December 2015. 

“Both Dr. Briggs and Dr. Saylor were instrumental in elevating Mid-America Transplant as a leading organ and tissue procurement organization,” said Diane Brockmeier, president and CEO at Mid-America Transplant. “They were deeply passionate about our mission to save lives through excellence in organ and tissue donation, and shared that message with their patients and communities. We will greatly miss them on our board, but take comfort in celebrating their memory by supporting new initiatives that will carry on their workplace passions.”

Mid-America Transplant worked alongside CoxHealth and Mercy to identify the best use for funds donated in the doctors’ honor. At CoxHealth, a $17,250 donation will establish the Dr. Thomas Briggs Endowed Scholarship fund for registered nurses in the fields of trauma and neuro-critical care, Dr. Briggs’ area of expertise, to help them pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing. At Mercy, a $25,000 donation will be used to create the Saylor Educational Program to provide training for physicians, nurses and hospital leadership in the area of healthcare ethics, furthering Dr. Saylor’s own work. 

coxhealthA donation to CoxHealth from the Mid-America Transplant Foundation will establish an endowed scholarship fund for registered nurses, in memory of deceased neurological surgeon Dr. Thomas Briggs. Pictured left to right: Kevin Lee, executive director of the Mid-America Transplant Foundation; Judy Phillips, board member for the Mid-America Transplant Foundation; Diane Brockmeier, president and CEO at Mid-America Transplant; Dr. Lance Ratcliff, president at Cox College; Lisa Alexander, president at CoxHealth Foundation; and Robert Bezanson, chairman of the board at Mid-America Transplant.

“With his comforting manner, Bob Saylor could always lead our patients’ families through the tough decisions that come with critical diagnoses,” said Dr. Alan Scarrow, president of Mercy Springfield Communities. “He was a mentor to numerous co-workers who knew they could count on him for solid advice that put our patients’ welfare first. We’re so pleased we will have a designated fund that will continue offering the training he was so skilled at providing.”

“Dr. Briggs was a valuable, revered and respected member of CoxHealth’s medical community, and is missed by many,” says Ron Prenger, senior vice president and CHO for CoxHealth. “It is an honor to have this scholarship available, which will both preserve his memory and continue his legacy through the work of others.” 

A board-certified neurological surgeon, Dr. Briggs was a founding physician of Springfield Neurological Institute and served as medical director at the DermaHealth Laser and Skin Care Clinic at the time of his death. As a physician, Dr. Briggs worked diligently to educate physicians and nurses on neurological issues and procedures, and was a strong advocate for organ and tissue donation, serving more than 15 years on the board of directors at Mid-America Transplant. He passed away on Dec. 24, 2015, after a lifelong battle with heart problems. 

Dr. Saylor spent many years caring for patients with end-stage renal disease at Springfield Nephrology and later led Mercy’s ethics department. In this role, he worked closely with doctors and nurses, as well as directly with patients and their families, to address challenging questions about life, death and the role of medical intervention. He saw firsthand the lifesaving impact of kidney transplant, and developed a deep passion for organ donation. He joined the board of Mid-America Transplant in 1992 and served as part of the executive committee from 2001 until his death on Dec. 28, 2015. While his aggressive brain cancer made it impossible to donate his organs, he was able to donate his corneas to provide the gift of sight to a patient in need. 

About Mid-America Transplant
Mid-America Transplant enables adults and children to receive lifesaving gifts through organ and tissue donations. For more than 40 years, it has facilitated and coordinated organ and tissue donation, and now serves 84 counties covering eastern Missouri, southern Illinois and northeast Arkansas that together are home to 4.7 million people. It saves lives by providing expert and compassionate care for organ donors, recipients and families, and transforms the clinical processes required to recover and transplant organs and tissues. Mid-America Transplant was the first such organization in the U.S. to use an in-house operating room for organ recovery and pioneered innovative models of increasing donor registry enrollment in an effort to provide organs and tissues to those in need. It is federally designated as one of 58 such organizations in the U.S., and is the first organ procurement organization to be recognized as a recipient of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for Performance Excellence. 

The Mid-America Transplant Foundation seeks to reduce the need for organ and tissue transplantation; increase the availability of organs and tissues for those who need them; and to improve the lives of recipients and donor families.  


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