HOUSTON (December 23, 2008)

The mood was celebratory as teams of leaders and clinicians of three Memorial Hermann Health System hospitals along with their partners at Houston’s LifeGift Organ Donation Center were recognized for saving lives through significant achievement in organ donation.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded its Medal of Honor to representatives of Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center and Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital for reaching a 75 percent “conversion” rate – when potential donors become actual donors during any 12-month period between April 2006 and May 2008. Just 412 of the nation’s approximately 5,000 hospitals were honored during the Fourth National Learning Congress on Organ Donation and Transplantation held recently in Nashville, Tennessee.

“Memorial Hermann continues to be a national leader in organ donation,” said Brenda Lyon, Memorial Hermann-TMC chief patient care officer and chair of the LifeGift board of directors. “Our partnership with LifeGift and commitment to organ and tissue donation is a key part of our mission.” The strength of the partnership is illustrated by the data. The three hospitals exceeded their goals, with Memorial Hermann Memorial City reaching a high of 88 percent of those saying “yes” to donation between December 2006 and November 2007. Memorial Hermann-TMC surpassed its goal and achieved an 82 percent rate between June 2007 and May 2008. And, Memorial Hermann Southwest made 75 percent between August 2006 and July 2007. Memorial Hermann Southwest was also recognized last year.

Additionally, the success of the national effort made it possible to transplant 3,905 more organs from deceased donors in 2007 than in 2003, the last year before the national program was launched. In 2007, 30,530 organs were transplanted.

Frank Rocha understands firsthand what these numbers mean. He received a life-saving kidney transplant more than ten years ago at then-called Hermann Hospital. “Because of organ donation, I have seen my daughter grow into an adult; I have experienced a decade more of joy with my wife. Donation and transplantation have given me a second chance at life."

About LifeGift

In its 21st year of operation, LifeGift is a not-for-profit organ procurement organization dedicated to recovering organs and tissue for individuals needing transplants in 109 Texas counties in North, Southeast Texas and West Texas. For more, go to www.lifegift.org or 1 (800) 633-6562.