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Organ Donation

It's not an easy discussion. It's not an easy choice. Organ donation is a selfless gift, and saves lives. "For patients with organ failure, it means long-term survival," said Dr. Marc Kross, general surgeon at Meritus Medical Center.

Meritus Medical Center is one of four Maryland hospitals to receive the national Organ Donation Medal of Honor from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Ours is the only Maryland hospital to receive this honor four times.

According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, more than 100,000 people await organ transplants. In Maryland, approximately 2,000 candidates remain on the wait list.

The hospital's goal is to gain organ donation consent from 75% of those who will not live through a fatal accident or cardiac arrest. In each of those consents, four to five organs or tissue may be obtained. The Organ Donation Medal of Honor recognizes hospitals achieving a 75% conversion rate of eligible patients donating organ and tissue.

Meritus Medical Center works with Living Legacy, an organ procurement system, to encourage family members to donate the organs of their loved ones. Organ donation includes kidneys, heart, lungs, and liver. Skin, muscle, bones, and corneas known as "tissue" are also used to save lives.

Although a gap between the supply and demand for organs continues nationwide, transplants in Maryland have increased slightly each year since 2004. In 2007, 669 people received transplants, and over 71% of them were between the ages of thirty-five and sixty-four. Kross hopes the hospital's award will increase the community's awareness of the organ shortage.

For those awaiting transplants, organ donation is a second chance at life.

To learn more about organ donation, or to become an organ donor, go to www.organdonor.gov or visit The Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland at http://www.thellf.org/.

11116 Medical Campus Road
Hagerstown, MD 21742
301-790-8000
TDD: 1-800-735-2258
meritus Health
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