DANBURY, Connecticut, April 3, 2018 — Western Connecticut Health Network (WCHN) is honoring the extraordinary people who have saved and enhanced lives through organ and tissue donation. Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital, and Norwalk Hospital — collectively WCHN — facilitate the donation process in order to fulfill a donor’s wish to give the gift of life. In 2017, WCHN, through coordinated efforts with New England Donor Services (NEDS), helped to save 23 lives and enhance up to 3,600 more through organ and tissue donation.
As of today, nearly 114,900 men, women, and children in the US are in need of a lifesaving organ transplant — and more than 1,200 of these people live in Connecticut. Every 10 minutes, another person is added to the organ transplant waiting list.
A single organ donor can save up to eight lives and heal more than 75 people through tissue donation.
Daniel Krauss, a resident of Sandy Hook, CT, is one of those lives.
Mr. Krauss received a new heart one year ago on April 8, 2017, 11 years after being diagnosed with congestive heart failure during a visit to Danbury Hospital’s Emergency Department.
“I’m thankful for the support of my family, friends, and all of the doctors and nurses who have treated me over the years. I’m especially thankful to my donor and his family. I’m very cognizant of the fact that someone gave me the ultimate gift and saved my life,” said Mr. Krauss. Mr. Krauss regularly participates in Donate Life CT speaking engagements at Danbury Hospital to honor his donor and to generate awareness about organ donation.
“I’m always amazed that at the most trying times, families find the strength to think of others and support the organ donation process. The donor’s family knows that their loved one is saving lives and improving the health of many others,” said Shannon Beardsley, RN, BSN, CCRN, Hospital Relations Coordinator, New England Donor Services.
Jackie Woodward, who unfortunately lost her 23-year-old son too soon, is an advocate for organ and tissue donation. She also participates in Donate Life CT speaking engagements at Danbury Hospital and generously shares her experience.
“My son Jesse donated tissue that I am sure has helped many, many people. He paid it forward, so now it’s my turn. I try to educate others. You can help even when you think you have nothing to give. You have so much to give,” said Ms. Woodward.
WCHN’s exceptional care teams are highly trained and follow precise protocols to successfully support organ donation.
“WCHN is committed to fulfilling our patient’s end-of-life wishes with compassion and integrity,” said Dawn Martin, RN, Director of Patient Care Services at Danbury Hospital and New Milford Hospital. Ms. Martin, an emergency nurse with more than 30 years of experience, has been working with NEDS for 20 years to ensure that registered organ donor patients have the best opportunity to donate.
Although 95 percent of US adults support organ donation, only 54 percent are registered organ donors. WCHN participates in the National Hospital Organ Donation Campaign, which aims to educate employees, patients, visitors, and the community about the crucial need for organ and tissue donation. The campaign has helped to register nearly 400,000 people to state organ donor registries. In 2017, Danbury and New Milford Hospitals each earned a Bronze Award and Norwalk Hospital earned Silver for the activities held within the hospitals and in the community to support the local organ donor registry.