SBUH receives HHS Medal of Honor for High Organ Donation Rates


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    Organ Donor Medal of Honor Presented at
    National Learning Congress in Nashville

    STONY BROOK, N.Y., November 8, 2007 - Stony Brook University Hospital was presented with a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Organ Donor Medal of Honor in Nashville for substantially raising life-saving organ donor rates of eligible donors at its facility. The medal ceremony took place during a meeting of the Third National Learning Congress on Organ Donation and Transplantation in Nashville, Tenn.

    Stony Brook University Hospital was honored for achieving and sustaining an organ donation rate of 75 percent or higher for any 12-month period between August 2005 and June 2007. In fact, according to HHS data, the highest donation rate at Stony Brook during the specified time period was 76.92 percent. As a result, 35 organs were transplanted.

    Out of approximately 3,000 hospitals nationwide, 392 hospitals merit the HHS Medal of Honor this year. Stony Brook University Hospital is one of only 14 hospitals in the greater New York metropolitan area-New York City, Long Island and the northern counties-to be honored by HHS. During the time period on which the award was based, there were 104 hospitals in the metropolitan area.

    "We are grateful to be recognized by the Department of Health and Human Services for our commitment to saving lives through organ donation," said Steven L. Strongwater, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of Stony Brook University Hospital. "We have witnessed how some of our patients benefited from transplants. We hope that by being recognized for this award, we can create awareness about the ongoing need for more donors."

    In its effort to save lives through donation and transplantation, staff members of Stony Brook University Hospital worked closely with the New York Organ Donor Network, the nonprofit, federally designated nonprofit organ procurement organization serving the region.

    "We congratulate and thank all the personnel at Stony Brook University Hospital for partnering with us and, as a result of their level of excellence, achieving national recognition," said Elaine Berg, New York Organ Donor Network president and CEO. "Like all of the hospitals  honored by HHS, Stony Brook University Hospital played a leading role in saving precious lives through organ donation. We also humbly acknowledge the donors and their loving families whose generosity and compassion made organ donation possible. It's worth remembering that one organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people."

    "We are pleased and proud to see the incredible progress of our nation's hospitals in increasing donation rates," said Elizabeth Duke, administrator of HHS' Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which houses the federal government's organ donation activities. "In just four years, the number of hospitals that have achieved the 75 percent rate has soared from 55 to 392 - a remarkable accomplishment."

    The medals were awarded against a background of increased organ donation rates around the country. From 2002 to 2006, the annual total of donors increased 29.6 percent. Last year in the greater New York metropolitan area there were a record 319 donors, compared with a low of 199 in 2001, and 262 donors in 2004. However, there are nearly 100,000 patients waiting for organ transplants in the U.S., and 7,000 of them are in the greater New York metropolitan area. Each day, on average, 17 people die because of the dire organ shortage.

    Addressing the critical need for more donors, the Donor Network's Elaine Berg said that the rate of organ, eye and tissue donation would increase if more people enrolled in the New York State Organ and Tissue Donor Registry. "After enrolling in this confidential registry, which is administered by the state's Department of Health, it is most important that New Yorkers tell their next of kin about their decision," she said. "When a family is approached for organ donation, it is a source of great comfort knowing the wishes of their loved one in advance."

    Stony Brook University Medical Center is the only academic medical center on Long Island. It comprises Stony Brook University School of Medicine and Stony Brook University Hospital, which is the only tertiary care hospital and Level 1 Trauma Center in Suffolk County. With 540 beds and 4,800 employees, it is the largest hospital in Suffolk County. The Heart Center performs the only open-heart surgery in Suffolk and the Cancer Center and Cerebrovascular Center attract patients from throughout the region with cutting edge diagnostic and treatment facilities. Stony Brook is home to Long Island's first kidney transplantation program and initiated the nation's first Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Center. The hospital is also home to the Cody Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities, and is the regional referral center for trauma, perinatal and neonatal intensive care, burns, bone marrow and stem cell transplantation, cystic fibrosis, pediatric/adult AIDS; its Stroke program is certified by the Joint Commission and the NYS Department of Health. For more information about Stony Brook University Medical Center, visit / or call 631-444-4000.

    For information about organ, eye and tissue donation, and to enroll online in the New York State Organ and Tissue Donor Registry, visit