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Monday, April 12, 2010 - Memorial Hospital receives HHS Organ Donation National Medal of Honor

For the second consecutive year, Lake Charles Memorial Hospital was awarded the Organ Donation National Medal of Honor from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) for its success in raising organ donation rates. One of only six hospitals in Louisiana to earn the award, and the only one in southwest Louisiana, Memorial was recognized for collaborating with its partner, Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency (LOPA), in an effort to achieve the national goal of converting at least 75 percent of eligible deaths into actual organ donors.

“Less than 5% of hospital deaths are eligible to donate organs, which is why it is essential to make the most of each opportunity,” said Denise Collett, RN, Director of Intensive Care at Memorial, who explained that each organ and tissue donor can save the lives of up to nine people and enhance the lives of 50 more.          

“It is a great honor for Memorial to once again win the HHS National Medal of Honor for organ donation,” said Marilyn McSwain, Memorial’s Chief Nursing Officer. “I am very proud that our team has won this distinction."

Debbie Lacassin, LOPA hospital resource coordinator, called the Medal of Honor well-deserved. "Memorial’s dedication and commitment to implement best practices in organ donation saved 42 lives in the last two years,” Lacassin said.

Memorial is one of six Louisiana medical facilities to receive the National Medal of Honor for organ donation this year. Its work with LOPA is helping to close the gap between the number of organ donors and the 1,873 Louisiana residents in need of a life-saving organ transplant. Over the last two years, there were 312 organ donors in Louisiana hospitals and 926 transplants. To date there are 105,070 Americans on the national waiting list.

To register as an organ and tissue donor in Louisiana, visit the Louisiana Organ and Tissue Donor Registry.


Dr. Jamal Saqer, a pediatric critical care specialist on staff at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, and Dr. Gary Kohler, a pulmonary critical care specialist also on staff, (l-r) accepted the Organ Donation National Medal of Honor on behalf of Memorial during a recent celebration honoring donors and recipients. Lauren Chance, whose 1-year-old son Brandon became a heart recipient in September 2009, made the presentation.

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Lake Charles Memorial Health System
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Lake Charles, LA 70601
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