West Virginia University Hospitals-East's Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Ranson is partnered with LifeNet Health, a federally designated organ procurement agency, to participate in the Flags Across American initiative.
Flags Across America, which began in 2009, honors and celebrates the hundreds of thousands of donors and recipients whose lives have been affected by organ, eye and tissue donation. The initiative rallies every donor hospital and transplant center, as well as all recovery agencies, to fly the Donate Life flag throughout the year every time a donation occurs at their hospitals and centers.
According to hospital officials, donor families are also given the opportunity to help raise the flag in celebration of their loved one. The concept is to make a very visible and unified statement about the importance of donation and thus reflect the dire need for donors and encourage people to register their donation decisions.
Currently, there are over 116,000 Americans waiting for an organ transplant. Nationally, 18 people a day die because a lifesaving organ does not become available in time. One donor can save up to nine lives through organ donation, enhance more than 50 lives through tissue donation and restore sight in two people through eye donation. There were more than 28,000 transplants in the United States last year.
"Every day, we save lives. Because saving lives is what we do, we have whole-heartedly embraced this opportunity and are committed to creating an organizational culture that supports organ, eye and tissue donation," stated Dr. Christina Coad, chief administrative officer at Jefferson Memorial Hospital.
For more information on how to register as an organ, eye or tissue donor, visit www.donatelife.wv.gov.