Shands at UF receives Medals of Honor from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for organ donation and transplantation

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (Dec. 21, 2010)— Shands at the University of Florida has been awarded a silver and bronze Medal of Honor from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resource and Services Administration for increasing the number of organs available for transplantation. Medals of Honor were awarded to only 307 hospitals nationwide.

Shands at UF received a silver Medal of Honor for its overall organ donation rate (77.8 percent) and its donation after circulatory death rate (31.4 percent). It is the only hospital in the 36-county region served by LifeQuest Organ Recovery Services to have been awarded HHS Medals of Honor for each of the six years the award has been given. Only 59 hospitals nationwide have been recognized six years consecutively.

“Connecting with family members to fulfill our patients’ wishes to make the gift of life a reality takes immeasurable sensitivity and compassion,” said Shands HealthCare CEO Tim Goldfarb. “Our Shands nurses and UF physicians in intensive care, emergency medicine and trauma services are deeply committed to supporting transplant patients and promoting organ donation.”

Medal of Honor award criteria included having met or exceeded a 75 percent donation rate in which 75 percent of potential donors became actual donors. Additionally, HHS presented awards to hospitals that exceeded the 10 percent threshold for donation after circulatory death and exceeded 3.75 organs transplanted per donor.

In addition to the awards presented to donor hospitals for their strides in increasing organ donation, Medals of Honor also went to transplant centers for their efforts in improving transplant rates and outcomes. Bronze, silver and gold Medals of Honor were awarded to centers that met one, two or three of the designated metrics, respectively.

HHS awarded a bronze Medal of Honor to the Shands at UF Kidney Transplant Program for its high kidney transplant rate. The metrics were based on observed deceased donor transplant rates significantly above expected; one-year graft survival rates significantly above expected; and observed mortality rates after placement on the waitlist significantly below expected.

“It’s incredibly rewarding to be able to offer a procedure that can so dramatically improve a person’s quality of life and lifespan,” said Liise Kayler, M.D., UF College of Medicine assistant professor of transplantation surgery. “It is always amazing to see a new organ working in a new body.”