11th Annual Ending the Wait Awards Honor Organ and Tissue Donation Achievements of Five Premier Colorado Hospitals

September 20, 2019

Friday, September 20th, Swedish Medical Center, UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies, Aspen Valley Hospital, Arkansas Valley Regional Medical Center and Parker Adventist Hospital were recognized with 2019 Ending the Wait awards for their outstanding achievements in facilitating the gift of life through organ and tissue donation in Colorado. The awards, now in their 11th year, are presented annually by Donor Alliance, the federally-designated organ procurement organization serving Colorado, and Colorado Hospital Association (CHA).

Swedish award

Swedish Medical Center – Richard Hammett, President and CEO

“Colorado is one of the top states for donation in the country, which would not be possible without the exemplary work of these hospitals who continue to lead the way in helping to save lives through organ and tissue donation,” said Sue Dunn, president and CEO of Donor Alliance. “The commitment and leadership shown by these organizations and their staff has and will continue to have a significant impact on ending the wait for the nearly 2,500 people in our state in need of a lifesaving transplant. We are honored to once again partner with CHA to recognize their efforts.”

Last year, Swedish Medical Center and UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies led the way in organ donation. Sixteen organ donors from Swedish Medical Center donated 42 organs that were transplanted to save lives both locally and across the country. UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies was recognized for having the highest average rate of organs transplanted per donor, with 10 organ donors donating 44 organs in 2018. Aspen Valley Hospital was the leader in tissue donation. Thirty-eight percent of the hospital’s potential tissue donors became donors last year, saving or healing the lives of 375 recipients.

Arkansas Valley award

Arkansas Valley Regional Medical Center – Dawnia Cunningham, ICU Nurse

Arkansas Valley Regional Medical Center earned recognition for its extraordinary efforts in organ and tissue donation. Thanks to the unwavering support of the medical center’s nursing and medical staff, their first organ donor in 22 years was able to give the gift of life to five grateful recipients. Parker Adventist Hospital was honored for its efforts to fulfill a registered donor’s wishes surrounding organ and tissue donation, which led to five lives being saved.

“The coordinated efforts of Donor Alliance and Colorado hospitals result in saved and improved lives for countless patients and their families,” said Steven J. Summer, CHA president and CEO. “CHA is proud to once again partner with Donor Alliance to recognize those hospital leaders and clinicians whose actions improve the well-being of our patients and communities.”

The awards were created to recognize the commitment of Colorado hospitals, medical centers and healthcare professionals to saving lives through organ and tissue donation. The selections are awarded annually and based on hospital size, trauma center designation and total number of donors and organs transplanted.

Each donor has the potential to save up to eight lives through organ donation and save and heal more than 75 through the gift of tissue donation. Last year, a record 489 lives were saved through organ transplantation thanks to 160 selfless organ donors from our area. The lives of tens of thousands more were also healed or potentially saved by 1,684 tissue donors. In 2018, 69.1 percent of Colorado’s licensed drivers and ID card holders had joined the organ and tissue registry, leading the nation with the highest rate of individuals joining the state registry. However, with nearly 2,500 people in Colorado currently waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant, Donor Alliance and CHA know there is still more work to be done.

Ending the wait - MCR award

UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies – Kevin Unger, CEO

For more information about organ and tissue donation, please visit DonorAlliance.org. To register to be an organ and tissue donor, please visit DonateLifeColorado.org or call 303-329-4747 for more information.

About the Colorado Hospital Association

Colorado Hospital Association (CHA) is the leading voice of Colorado’s hospital and health system community. Representing more than 100 member hospitals and health systems throughout the state, CHA serves as a trusted, credible and reliable resource on health issues, hospital data and trends for its members, media, policymakers and the general public. Through CHA, Colorado’s hospitals and health systems work together in their shared commitment to improve health and health care in Colorado. Learn more at www.cha.com.

About Donor Alliance

Donor Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives through organ and tissue donation and transplantation. As the organ and tissue procurement agency for Colorado and most of Wyoming, Donor Alliance serves more than 5.8 million residents and more than 100 hospitals. Donor Alliance adheres to the highest medical, regulatory and ethical standards, and meets every performance standard. By respectfully working with the families of organ and tissue donors, maintaining partnerships with hospitals, educating residents on the life-saving benefits of donation and inspiring them to sign up on the state’s donor registry, Donor Alliance is able to save lives through organ and tissue donation and transplantation. Colorado and Wyoming boast some of the highest rates of donor registration in the country, which directly translates to more lives saved and healed through organ and tissue transplantation. Donor Alliance is one of 58 federally designated organizations of its kind in the United States. For more information visit DonorAlliance.org or the Donate Life Colorado or Donate Life Wyoming Facebook pages.