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Mid-America Transplant Reports Record Number of Tissue Donors in 2016;
Second-Highest Year for Organ Donations in the Service Area

Posted January 27, 2017 in News Category

ST. LOUIS (January 31, 2017) – Mid-America Transplant marked a record number of tissue donations, totaling 1,662 donors throughout eastern Missouri, southern Illinois and northeast Arkansas in 2016. These donations have the potential to provide more than 75,000 recipients with tissues including corneas, bone, skin, heart valves, tendons and veins. 

isomchristmas-1-of-37cropped-707Nine-year-old Averi, right, received a lifesaving heart valve transplant as a 5-year-old. Today, she enjoys gymnastics and spending time with her twin sister Adison because of a generous tissue donor.

“Many people are familiar with organ transplants, but don’t realize the incredible potential impact of tissue donation,” said Diane Brockmeier, CEO of Mid-America Transplant. “Donated tissues may help a breast cancer survivor, a burn victim, a child with a heart defect, or an athlete with a torn rotator cuff. One of the remarkable things about tissue donation is that, over time, one tissue donor may improve the quality of life for more than 50 people.”

2016 tissue donations by the numbers:

  • 1,394 bone donors, a record number for Mid-America Transplant, helped repair injured knees, spines and hips and reconstruct jaws following trauma or tumor removal.
  • 1,231 eye donors provided corneas for vision-saving transplants.
  • 891 skin donors enabled doctors to create skin grafts for patients with burns and critical wounds.
  • 277 heart valve donors, a 45 percent increase over 2015, helped save the lives of children and young adults born with serious heart defects.
  • 195 saphenous vein donors, more than double 2015, restored blood flow for patients with restricted flow to their legs or were used in coronary artery bypass surgeries.

Nationally, the U.S. recorded its highest year for organ transplants and the fourth consecutive year for record-breaking growth, according to United Network for Organ Sharing. In Mid-America Transplant’s tristate service area, 180 individuals provided lifesaving organ donations in 2016, the second-highest year for organ donors in the organization’s history. Donations of kidneys, livers, lungs, hearts, pancreases and intestines resulted in 551 organs transplanted from donors within Mid-America Transplant’s service area last year.

“We are inspired to see growing numbers of donors and families choosing to give these lifesaving gifts,” said Brockmeier. “Their generosity, along with the expertise and compassion demonstrated by our dedicated staff members, have helped us achieve record-breaking donations in 2016.”

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A recipient of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for Performance Excellence, Mid-America Transplant attributes high donation numbers to a continued focus on innovative approaches that lead to more lifesaving transplants. Much of these efforts center on improving the collaboration between Mid-America Transplant, medical professionals and donor families to achieve higher authorization rates and enhance the overall donation process. In 2016, a record 60 percent of those asked to donate tissue agreed to donate, the highest tissue authorization rate in the organization’s history, and 85 percent of those asked agreed to donate organs. Additionally, clinical expertise, alongside improved technologies and the organization’s on-site surgical facility, enable Mid-America Transplant to achieve record-level performance year after year.

“We’re in a challenging business because record-breaking donor numbers also tell another story – the grief so many individual families in our region face with the loss of a loved one,” said Brockmeier. “We are the stewards of the gifts donors and their families have given, and carry on their memory by helping as many people as possible get the organ and tissue transplants they need.”

To learn more about registering to be an organ and tissue donor, visit www.midamericatransplant.org or sign up at your local Department of Motor Vehicles office.

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 and tissue 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 to provide more 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. For more information, visit www.midamericatransplant.org.

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