PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Gift of Life Donor Program - the non-profit, federally designated organ procurement organization (OPO) serving the eastern half of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware (based in Philadelphia, PA) – is the leading OPO in the nation for the eighth year in a row with its successful coordination of life-saving gifts from 483 local donors, which resulted in 1,291 organ transplants. Gift of Life exceeded its previous national record of 447 organ donors that it reached in 2013 and 2014. An additional 352 transplants were coordinated from other areas of the country, bringing the number of organs coordinated to 1,643. This is the greatest number of organs ever coordinated by an OPO in the U.S.
Gift of Life also recovered tissue from 2,546 individuals, whose donations may benefit up to 100,000 people - including bone donations to repair fractures and prevent amputations, skin donations to heal burn patients and heart valve donations to repair defects. This includes 2,265 cornea donations that will give the gift of sight to recipients.
"Being the national leader in coordinating the most life-saving organ donors is a great accomplishment. We are grateful for the generosity of donors and donor families who chose donation, along with the expertise and dedication of the region's healthcare professionals and our strong partnerships with the transplant centers and acute care hospitals," said Howard M. Nathan, President and CEO, Gift of Life.
Through Gift of Life Institute, a global leader in donation education, Gift of Life's international reach was significant in 2015. The Institute trained more than 1,100 donation professionals, both in the U.S. and abroad, in family communication, authorization and hospital development through instructor-led classes, virtual classroom trainings and eLearning. Since 2004, the Institute has trained over 8,000 professionals from 37 countries.
Gift of Life Institute has become the pre-eminent resource for organ and tissue donation education. As a result, many countries established OPOs based on Gift of Life's model. "I believe it's our responsibility to help countries establish and improve their donation process. I want to share Gift of Life's model and teach the components that have made us successful. By helping set up an effective system and educating others about our best practices, we are providing the tools to save more lives," said Mr. Nathan. Gift of Life's approach is tailored to the sensitivities of each culture to ensure that donation is communicated to families in a compassionate and respectful way, helping the organization to effectively educate individuals and organizations from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Saudi Arabia - just in the past year and a half.
Since 1974, Gift of Life has coordinated more than 40,000 organ transplants and an estimated 600,000 tissue transplants. Gift of Life's service area includes nearly 11 million people, and in 2015 the organization coordinated over 44 organ donors-per-million-population - ranking it among the highest in the world. For more information, visit donors1.org.
SOURCE Gift of Life Donor Program