800-TEMPLE-MED Schedule Appointment

Words of Gratitude at TUH’s Donate Life Ceremony

View All Blog Posts
Posted by Temple Lung Center

Hope. Passion. Advocacy.

These qualities are not only exemplified every day by Temple University Hospital physicians and staff; they’re also a perfect way to describe efforts to increase organ donation. In partnership with TUH, Gift of Life—the Philadelphia area’s organ and tissue donation and transplant network—works hard to make transplants available for those who need them. The annual National Donate Life Month Presentation, held on April 20th in Erny Auditorium, was an opportunity to reflect on this mission and celebrate successes.

“Performing 480 lifesaving transplants in the last five years, we rely on the generosity of families faced with a loss to give our patients a second chance at life,” said Verdi J. DiSesa, MD, MBA, TUH’s President and CEO. He noted that last year, the hospital’s conversion rate (potential organ donors who went on to donation) was 59 percent—the second-highest of all adult transplant centers in the city. “Donation and transplant can turn a tragic and sometimes senseless death into a miraculous gift,” Dr. DiSesa concluded.

Performing 480 lifesaving transplants in the last five years, we rely on the generosity of families faced with a loss to give our patients a second chance at life.

Verdi J. DiSesa, MD, MBA.

Howard Nathan, Gift of Life President and CEO, pointed out that more than 5,700

Pennsylvanians are waiting for transplants. Of those, 386 are at Temple. “We really appreciate our partnership with Temple,” said Nathan, “which goes back over 30 years.”

It makes a difference to people like John Mullin, a salesman, father of four and grandfather of ten, who had not only received a lung transplant but also underwent a coronary artery bypass graft at TUH. When idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) damaged his lung function, “I persevered and focused on staying positive,” he said. “With the transplant, I have the opportunity to make many more great memories with my family, but also to be an advocate for others with IPF and those facing transplant. Just one small act of gratitude each day is my goal.”

India Lamar, a donor mom, lost her 26-year-old son Peter in 2012. He was a gunshot victim and was brought to TUH, but his injuries were fatal. Lamar explained, “I decided to continue to do what Peter would do, and donated to the Gift of Life. I want to say thank you for everything you’ve done for my child. When people need what they need, they need to come here to Temple.”

Associate Chief Nursing Officer Elizabeth Menschner, MSN, MAS, RN, NEA-BC, shared the poignant story of a wedding held at TUH two days before a patient’s transplant: “We were able to facilitate the wedding in their room. Two days later, another miracle happened: Gift of Life said that donor lungs were available, and he had a transplant.”

Abhijit Pathak, MD, Medical Director of the SICU, sees many transplant patients come through his unit. He and his colleagues work to ensure that donors, recipients, and their families all receive support and high-quality, compassionate care. According to Dr. Pathak, “Today’s emotional stories remind us of the miraculous legacy of those who donate organs, the profound gratitude of those who receive transplants, and the extraordinary role we play to enable both here at Temple.”

See More Posts In