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Saint Joseph Hospital is one of four hospitals in Kentucky to be recognized for achieving and sustaining national organ donation goals
Organ transplants save about 77 lives each day in the United States, but another 19 people die every day because a suitable organ is not available for them.

Saint Joseph Hospital recently was awarded a Silver Medal of Honor from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for successfully increasing the number of organs available for transplantation.

Saint Joseph Hospital is one of four hospitals in Kentucky (one of 307 in the nation) to be recognized for achieving and sustaining national organ donation goals, including a donation rate of 75 percent or more of eligible donors. Other Kentucky hospitals receiving this honor are Kosair Children’s Hospital, University of Louisville and Owensboro Medical Health System. Saint Joseph Hospital actually achieved a 100% conversion rate for the 18-month period under consideration (October 2008-March 2010). Through carefully coordinated efforts and the generosity of families, six donors provided 12 organs to be transplanted to waiting recipients.

Saint Joseph Hospital’s partnership with Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA) is paramount to its success in increasing life-saving donations. KODA provides staff members who specialize in working with donor families as well as provide important education to hospital personnel.

Saint Joseph Hospital also has an organ donation committee, led by clinicians, chaplains and KODA representatives, to maintain awareness of the organ donation program, increase the number of donations and honor the generosity of donor families.

“The commitment by the clinicians, chaplains and administration at Saint Joseph Hospital to increase organ and tissue donation at their institution has helped many transplant recipients in our community and will continue in assisting the 700 hopeful recipients who are currently awaiting a life-saving transplant in Kentucky,” said LeAnn Seagraves, KODA client services coordinator who works specifically with Saint Joseph Hospital as its on-site donor specialist.

“Organ donation is one of the most profound gifts a person can give another,” said Chris Mays, chief operating officer and chief nursing executive. “We’re accepting this award on behalf of our patients and families who have given through organ and tissue donation.”

KODA will present the National Medal of Honor to Saint Joseph Hospital at a reception on January 26, 2011 in the front lobby of the hospital. The reception will begin at 1:30 p.m. and the presentation is scheduled for 2 p.m.

The Medal of Honor awards are a result of the National Organ Donation and Transplantation Breakthrough Collaborative, an initiative launched by HHS in 2003 to save thousands of lives annually by spreading best practices to the nation’s largest hospitals. The collaborative is designed to increase the availability of transplantable organs for patients on waiting lists throughout the country. For more information, visit

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