UCLA Medical Center has been awarded a medal of honor from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and OneLegacy, the nonprofit organ and tissue recovery agency serving the Greater Los Angeles area, in recognition of its success in helping to secure organ donations from more than 75 percent of eligible donors.
Only 3 percent of hospitals across the country received the award, which is based on statistics from 2004 through mid-2006.
"We're proud of this achievement and how UCLA Medical Center's efforts have had such a meaningful impact on the lives of donor families and recipients alike," said Dr. J. Thomas Rosenthal, UCLA Medical Center's chief medical officer.
Last year, eight patients from UCLA Medical Center became organ donors with a total of 30 organs recovered and transplanted. Since 2004, 76 organs have been transplanted - and lives saved - from 24 patients at UCLA Medical Center, OneLegacy spokesman Bryan Stewart said.
The award reflects the success of the Organ Donation Breakthrough Collaborative, an HHS initiative launched in 2003 to save and enhance thousands of lives annually by spreading best organ-donation practices to the nation's largest hospitals.
The national initiative provides hospitals and organ procurement organizations with the tools and processes needed to dramatically increase organ and tissue donation rates. In the Los Angeles area, organ donation is up 34 percent from September 2003, when the Organ Donation Breakthrough Collaborative first began.
"One of the nation's most pressing public health issues is the widening gap between the number of organs donated for transplant and the number of patients on the national organ transplant waiting list," said Tom Mone, chief executive officer of OneLegacy. "Currently, 93,000 people across the country and nearly 20,000 in California are waiting for an organ transplant."
One organ donor can save up to eight lives, and one tissue donor can enhance the lives of up to 50 people. Those wishing to make the commitment to donate may register online at www.donateLIFEcalifornia.org or its Spanish-language counterpart, www.doneVIDAcalifornia.org.