The State Journal's Dec. 25 article “Kindness of strangers,” about non-directed organ donation, highlighted another example of UW Hospital’s national leadership in organ donation and transplantation.
The “good Samaritan donation” is given by people to recipients they do not know but who are in need of a donated organ to continue their lives. Noted UW transplant surgeon Dr. Hans Sollinger urged then-Gov. Tommy Thompson to help educate the public about the need for organ donors. Gov. Thompson became a persistent advocate, always adamant about recognizing and thanking donor families for their decision to donate life.
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Then, when Thompson became head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, he declared the issue one of his top priorities during his first 100 days in office. He asked me to be his special assistant for organ donation. I accepted and immediately caught his passion for the challenge of making the United States a “donation nation.”
The need for families to donate from deceased donors evolved into advocacy for living donors and then good Samaritan donors, which the UW Hospital noted had its first non-directed donation in 2003.
Kudos to UW Hospital and its staff for all they do to save lives through organ donation. The people whose lives you saved thank you, too.
Camille Haney, Monona, former special assistant to the secretary for organ donation