Chris Cole POSTED: 07:16 PM MST Nov 05, 2014 Portneuf receives recognition for organ transplant success
POCATELLO, Idaho –
Sarah Brown was born with a lot of heart problems.
“It was hooked up really weird,” she said. “I had holes in my heart, and I was born without a left ventricle.”
And more. But that changed in April 2013 when she received a heart transplant that fixed it – mostly.
Her body started rejecting her new heart, so she had to take medications that suppressed her immune system, leaving her vulnerable to illness.
“Not as much anymore, because I’m on the lower doses,” Brown said. “But I still have to be careful.”
Brown told her story to representatives of Intermountain Organ Donation and Portneuf Medical Center when the hospital staff was given a silver medal by the organization for their work on organ transplants.
“This year we wanted to make sure the staff here at the hospital were able to see some of the outcomes and benefits, and thank them for all the work they do,” said Tracy Schmidt, executive director of Intermountain Organ Donation.
Schmidt said out of 750 eligible hospitals across the nation, about 200 of them received silver awards, with PMC being the only one in Eastern Idaho. There were only 20 hospitals across the nation to get the gold award.
The award, simply called the “Medal of Honor,” was established in 2005. It’s awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration.
Schmidt said this award was given based on three criteria: 1, Achieving an organ donation conversion rate of at least 75 percent; 2, Achieving a rate of at least 3.75 organs transplanted per donor (OTPD); and 3, Successfully recovering transplantable organs in at least 10 percent of cases involving donation after circulatory death (DCD).
Brown said she is grateful for everyone who made it possible for her to receive the transplant, especially the person who’s heart she received. Brown said for a year and a half, she’s thought about meeting the family of the person who gave her a second chance at life.
She said she doesn’t know who it was, but she had very specific needs, so she said it’s someone who was young, therefore someone who likely died in an accident.
“So it could have been a high school kid or a newlywed or a new mom or a new dad, and it’s just not a good story of how they died,” Brown said. “So part of me thinks, yes, I’m ready, I’d like to know. But at the same time I don’t want to know.”