Valley Baptist Medical Health System has been nationally recognized for its efforts to help bring the gifts of life and sight to the community it serves through its efforts to promote organ, eye, and tissue donation.
The Platinum Recognition from the Health Resources & Services Administration as part of the National Organ Donation Campaign and Workplace Partnership for Life is a culmination of hours of dedication and teamwork at both Valley Baptist-Brownsville and Valley Baptist-Harlingen. Valley Baptist-Harlingen has received Platinum Recognition each year since 2016, while Valley Baptist-Brownsville has been a Platinum Recognition recipient since 2015.
From administration to physicians to individual departments such as pastoral services and security, there is an entire team at work to promote organ donation efforts at the hospital, saidDr. Vijian Dhevan, the chair of theDonation Committee at Valley Baptist-Harlingen.
“Education efforts for organ donation within the hospital are so important because we know our hospital partners are trusted members of our community,” said Dorothy Switzky, Director of Hospital Services for Texas Organ Sharing Alliance (TOSA), the organ procurement organization that serves the Rio Grande Valley. “By educating their staff and visitors about the critical need for organ donors and offering opportunities to register as life-saving donors, we are able to save more lives.”
In addition to the hospital’s recognition, individuals at Valley Baptist-Brownsville have also earned praise for their efforts to promote organ donation. Patient Safety Officer Lydia Touchet has been recognized by the Texas Organ Sharing Alliance for her commitment to the cause in both 2016 and 2017, and Valley Baptist-Brownsville CEO Leslie Bingham earned special recognition from the Texas Organ Sharing Alliance in 2018 for her strong leadership commitment and support of organ donation in the Rio Grande Valley. At Valley Baptist-Harlingen, Chief Quality Officer Roy Evans, Patient Safety Officer Parker MacDonald, and Clinical Educator for Perioperative Services Dawn Rodriguez all received individual recognition for their efforts to support organ donation efforts.
While Valley Baptist Health System has dedicated itself to raising awareness regarding the importance of organ donation in the Valley, the need for donated organs remains high both locally and throughout the nation. According to TOSA, nearly 110,000 men, women and children were on the national organ transplant list as of March 2021, and 20 people die each day while awaiting a transplant. While approximately 39,000 organ transplants were performed in 2020, the need for organ donation continues to grow as another person is added to the transplant list every seven 10 minutes.
“Organ donation means life. By donating our organs, we are not only being charitable, but we are helping others to live a better quality of life,” Touchet said. “It is helping our brothers and sisters live without having to be hooked up to a dialysis machine for the rest of their lives. It means that organ donation recipients in our community will live to see their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. When we donate, our corneas allow others to see better, our bones and tissues help others walk and participate in daily activities.”
Because 90 percent of adults in the United States support organ donation but only 60 percent are signed up as donors, according to the Health Resources & Services Administration,”it’s important that individuals sign up to save lives at DonateLifeTexas.org and explain their decision with their families,” said Dhevan.
“Every donor can save eight lives and enhance the lives of 75 others through eye and tissue donation,” Dhevan said. “Being a registered donor brings hopes to those who continue to wait for a life-saving transplant.”
As part of its efforts to raise awareness regarding organ donation, Valley Baptist Health Systemwill re-dedicate its “Wall of Heroes” that honors organ, eye and tissue donors at both hospitals when it is safe to do so. Valley Baptist will also work to continue to educate the community on the importance of organ donation via a broad social media campaign.
“We look forward to getting together with families again to celebrate their loved one’s lives and legacies,” Evans said. “We know these efforts, along with our educational activities with our donation partners, are inspiring others to donate life.”
For more information on how to register as an organ donor, visit the Donate Life Texas Registry web site at www.DonateLifeTexas.org