RWJBarnabas Health Has Most Donations and Transplants Among All NJ Health Systems in 2022
February 28, 2023
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–The New Jersey Sharing Network, the federally-designated non-profit organization responsible for the recovery of donated organs and tissue in New Jersey, has recognized Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) for achieving the most-ever organ and tissue donations by a New Jersey hospital in a single year in 2022.
According to its end-of-year report, RWJUH worked closely with the NJ Sharing Network to fulfill the wishes of 33 individuals who gave the gift of life donating 102 organs for transplantation. RWJUH is one of the three state-designated Level I Trauma Centers for adults in New Jersey, and The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at RWJUH holds a Level II Pediatric Trauma designation. The hospital has quaternary-level capabilities for the critical care of patients for trauma, stroke, cardiovascular and medical conditions.
As a health system, RWJBarnabas Health hospitals work closely with the NJ Sharing Network and had 68 donors with 195 organs transplanted.
“As a state-designated Level I Trauma Center for Adult Acute Care medicine, a Level II Pediatric Trauma center, a certified Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center by The Joint Commission, and a regional leader in transplantation for heart, kidney and pancreas, our partnership with the NJ Sharing Network and shared mission of saving and enhancing lives through organ donation runs deep in the RWJUH culture,” said Bill Arnold, President and CEO, RWJUH. “As an academic medical center through our longstanding partnership with Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and as one of only seven nursing programs in the world to achieve Magnet recognition six consecutive times, RWJUH is committed to facilitating the gift of life in the face of tragic circumstances. We are deeply honored to support the families of donors through this journey.”
RWJUH has an active Donor Council comprised of leaders across the hospital involved in the care of donor patients and families. The hospital also has a Donor Team, which is a volunteer, nurse-driven committee representing both the adult and pediatric emergency departments and all intensive care units throughout RWJUH. The committee provides specialized training to RWJUH’s clinical care team on the process to facilitate organ donation with the NJ Sharing Network.
Staff never approach patient families about consenting to a donation. Rather, they make a referral to the NJ Sharing Network to work directly with families if the potential exists for organ donation. There are specific criteria developed for when the NJ Sharing Network can be called in for a referral.
The Donor Team also conducts many outreach events to raise awareness and educate staff and the public about organ donation. This includes hosting an information table outside the Employee Dining Room during Donate Life Month. The Team also shares information at Somerset Patriots games, Rutgers Day, JCCs, YMCAs and National Night Out among other events. The Donor Team Committee is co-chaired by Nancy Lipschutz, RN, BSN, CCRN-CMC. and Mary Lynn Dupuis, RN, BSN, CCRN, CNIV.
“I have worked in the CCU forever and I have seen people with end-stage heart failure waiting for hearts,” said Lipschutz. “I have also seen heart transplant patients come back to visit us living and enjoying life. They treasure and honor the gift they have received – it’s never in vain.”
The Donor Team also pays tribute to organ donors and families by illuminating RWJUH’s East Tower in blue and green (the designated colors promoting organ donation awareness) for 24 hours each time a donation occurs. An image of the lit tower will also be pinned on the RWJUH Facebook to acknowledge this profound gift in 2023.
“Whenever people in our communities drive by RWJUH and see those colors illuminated on our buildings, they should know that something profound has occurred here. We can all be proud of this partnership with NJ Sharing Network and our team’s commitment to saving lives amidst grief,” Arnold added. “Publicly acknowledging this gift is healing for both our clinical teams and the donor families.”
For more information about becoming an organ donor, please visit: https://www.njsharingnetwork.org/
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