Hackensack University Medical Center Observes National Donate Life Month

On April 3, team members from the Organ Transplantation Division, along with Ihor S. Sawczuk, M.D., president of Hackensack University Medical Center gathered for the raising of the New Jersey Sharing Network flag to commemorate Donate Life Month.

April is Donate Life month, which is observed across the United States in support of organ and tissue donation and to honor donors and their families who have given the gift of life during their darkest hour. Donate Life month also brings much-needed attention to this critical issue by honoring those who continue to wait for lifesaving transplants. On April 3, Hackensack MeridianHealth Hackensack University Medical Center raised the New Jersey Sharing Network flag near the front entrance of the hospital to mark the importance of this month.

“Today, we celebrate the gift of life, organ donation,” said Ihor S. Sawczuk, M.D., president of Hackensack University Medical Center. “In 2016, Hackensack University Medical Center had 11 organ donors with resulted in 36 lives saved. In addition, 65 tissue donors enhanced the lives of 2,750 people. I congratulate the Organ Transplantation Division at Hackensack University Medical Center and our partner, the New Jersey Sharing Network, for their tireless efforts to save lives through organ donation.”

The ceremony had special significance for Lyndsey Langenstein, who attended the flag raising. Lyndsey, who had been on dialysis for more than a decade due to complications from Lupus, had a kidney transplant at Hackensack University Medical Center in May of 2016.

“Everyone tells me how much better I look and I feel really good,” said Lyndsey. “I hope more people are aware of organ donation and consider registering as an organ donor. You could give someone else the chance of a better life or a second chance at life if you donate your organs.”

Hackensack MeridianHealth is among a select group of hospitals nationwide recognized for reaching platinum, gold, silver and bronze levels of achievement for promoting enrollment in state organ donor registries. Hackensack MeridianHealth is part of a national hospital campaign sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

Of the 995 hospitals and transplant centers participating in the campaign, Hackensack University Medical Center received platinum level recognition. Bayshore Community Hospital, Mountainside Medical Center, Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Ocean Medical Center and Riverview Medical Center received gold level recognition. Silver level was presented to Palisades Medical Center, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy and Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, and Pascack Valley Medical Center attained bronze level recognition.

In 2016, Hackensack MeridianHealth had 29 organ donors which resulted in 10,258 gifts.

“Our Organ Transplant Division includes a structured team that focuses on every aspect of the transplant process providing patients with a complete pre-transplant evaluation, surgical services and post-operative care,” said James W. Lim, M.D., FACS, program director and chief, Transplant Surgery and Organ Transplantation Division at Hackensack University Medical Center. “Our transplant team works very hard to provide quality, personalized care to our patients, which has resulted in many accomplishments and milestones, of which we are very proud.”

Here are some important statistics:

  • 21 people die each day waiting for a lifesaving transplant
  • Currently, there are more than 123,000 people waiting on the National Transplant List
  • Every 10 minutes, another name is added to the National Transplant List
  • In our region, approximately 5,00 people are waiting for a lifesaving transplant
  • One organ and tissue donor can impact up to 50 lives
  • Approximately 79 organ transplants take place every day in the United States

Living donation, most often associated with kidney donation, can save the life of someone facing a long and uncertain wait. Living donors can donate to family, friends or anonymous candidates. Each year, about 6,000 transplants around the country are made possibly by living donors.

In June of 2016, the Organ Transplant team at Hackensack University Medical Center and the Living Donor Institute celebrated the first living donor internal paired exchange with a meeting of the two families involved. This event began the new Living Wall honoring all living donors. This year, the Transplantation Divisions at Hackensack University Medical Center and Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune will continue to focus on growing the living-donor program even more.

Throughout the month of April, hospitals throughout the Hackensack MeridianHealth network will be glowing blue and green near their entrances and taking part in various Donate Life Month activities to signify their commitment to educating and informing team members, patients and their families about organ donation. At Jersey Shore University Medical Center, team members wore blue and green on one day to show their support for Donate Life Month.

For more information about the Organ Transplantation Division at Hackensack University Medical Center, please call551-996-2608.

To learn more about the NJ Sharing Network and how to register to become an organ donor, please visit:

ABOUT Hackensack MeridianHealth
Hackensack MeridianHealth is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care. Hackensack MeridianHealth comprises 13 hospitals, including two academic medical centers, two children’s hospitals and nine community hospitals, physician practices, more than 120 ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, and urgent care and after-hours centers. Hackensack MeridianHealth has 28,000 team members, more than 6,000 physicians and is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy, committed to the health and well-being of the communities it serves.

The Network’s notable distinctions include having one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America’s 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more consecutive years, the number one hospital in New Jersey as ranked by U.S. News and World Report, consistently achieving Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, recipient of the John M. Eisenberg Award for Patient Safety and Quality from The Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum, a six-time recipient of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For,” one of the “20 Best Workplaces in Health Care” in the nation, and the number one “Best Place to Work for Women.” Hackensack MeridianHealth is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an interstate consortium of leading health systems, to focus on the sharing of best practices in clinical care and achieving efficiencies.

The hospitals of Hackensack MeridianHealth include: academic medical centers – Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune; children’s hospitals – Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital in Hackensack, K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune; community hospitals – Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, and Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood.

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