U Hospital wins silver award for increase in organ donors

By By Rita Totten

By Rita Totten

The Winter Olympic Games might have come and gone, but silver awards are still being handed out in Utah.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services gave its silver award to the University Hospital, recognizing the increase in available organ donors.

The U Hospital was among five hospitals in Utah to be recognized for its increase in consenting organ donors.

“We take this seriously,” said Chris Nelson, spokesman for U Health Sciences. The U Hospital’s organ donor consent rate is up, which means more families are agreeing to allow their loved ones to become donors, he said.

According to an Associated Press article, hospitals receiving the award are ranked with gold, silver and bronze medals based on the increase in their donation approval rate and the number of organs donated per individual.

Nelson said the staff is trained to approach the subject in a sensitive way. When families are faced with the difficult decision of taking someone off life support, the staff asks them if the patient had ever spoken to them about organ donation, Nelson said.

“We want to be direct but not cause any more stress,” Nelson said.

Nelson said the award signifies the U has the best practices and protocols when it comes to addressing families.

“We know what to say and when to say it,” Nelson said.

He said the recognition allows the U to know how it compares with other hospitals across the country, and means its efforts are working.

“I believe this puts us somewhere in the 90th percentile,” Nelson said.
He said this award also means good news for Utah patients.

“If you are in need of a transplant, you are in the right place,” Nelson said.
Since the award was first given in 2005, hospitals across the state have received gold and silver awards each year.

Along with the U Hospital, Primary Children’s Medical Center, Intermountain Medical Center in Murray and McKay-Dee Hospital Center in Ogden received the silver award. Utah Valley Regional Medical Center received the highest recognition by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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