April is Donate Life Month

For Renee Sicheri, a registerednurse at MedStar SouthernMaryland Hospital Center(MSMHC), organ donationis very personal. Indeed, it is asolemn occasion for everyone at the hospital. We know it means one family is dealing with adevastating loss and a sad time,but we also know another family will be able to celebrate a secondchance for their ailing loved one.

Sicheri has been on both sidesof this equation. She sufferedthe loss of a beloved familymember whose organs lived onand saved lives in the bodiesof others, and she is part of theteam at MSMHC who works withWashington Regional TransplantCommunity (WRTC)to coordinatethis process to save numerousothers. WRTC is the organizationresponsible for the delicate andcomplicated process of finding donor organs for recipients ondonor lists and coordinating thetransfer of the organs to recipients.

The way the organ donationprocess works is this: First, everyeffort to save the patient’s life isexpended, provided this is what thepatient would want. After extensivetesting, once it is determined the patient will not make it, but whoseorgans may be able to function andsave a life in the body of anotherperson, WRTC is notified. Theywill come to MSMHC, review thepatient’s chart, and check theirdatabase for matches. Then, thefamily of the patient is consulted,but it is always the wishes of thepatient that overrides anyoneelse. Once the organ is harvested,it is put on a medivac helicopterfor rapid transit to its recipient.

After the process is complete, thedonor’s family receives recognitionfrom WRTC for the generous giftof life from their loved one in theform of a thank you certificate thatincludes how many people were potentially saved through eachperson’s organ donation and howlong they were on a recipient list.

At MSMHC, we are proud to bea part of this process and proudto support WRTC by promotingtheir Donate Life campaign andthe process of becoming a donor.We promote this message invarious ways, including througheducation to both our associatesand our community, throughhosting a WRTC representativefor an organ donation sign-upday in our hospital’s cafeteria,and by participating in Blue
and Green Friday on April13th, to increase awareness ofthe Donate Life campaign.

Late last year, WRTC awardedthe entire MSMHC perioperativeteam for being champions ofthe organ donation process,and for being among the Top 50 hospitals for notification andprocurement. It also awardedDr. Katharine Modisett, MD,for facilitating the organdonation process at MSMHC.

Please visitMedStarSouthernMaryland.org/DonateLifefor more information about organ donation.