News Release

Monday, October 23, 2006

Contact: George Stinnett, CHKD, (757) 668-7043 or

CHKD Awarded HHS Medal of Honor for Organ Donation Efforts

One of only six hospitals in Virginia and 371 nationally

HAMPTON ROADS, Va.—Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters was recently awarded the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ prestigious Medal of Honor for Organ Donation.

CHKD, along with six other Virginia hospitals and a total of 371 across the nation, was recognized for achieving and sustaining a donation rate of 75 percent or more of eligible donors. By contrast, the national average donation rate in all hospitals was 59 percent in 2005 and 55 percent in 2004. The 371 recognized hospitals come from a pool of 787 meeting eligibility criteria during the 26-month award period.

This is the second time CHKD has received the award since the DHHS launched the Organ Donation Breakthrough Collaborative in 2003. The hospital received an inaugural Medal in 2005, covering the first two years of the program.

“As we celebrate these outstanding accomplishments, let us remember that behind each number is a human face – an individual who has made a gift of life by becoming an organ donor, and the people who have benefited from a life-giving, life-enhancing transplant,” said RADM Kenneth Moritsugu, Acting U.S. Surgeon General. “The success of these dedicated professionals through this collaborative is helping save more lives and increasing the quality and length of life for more people. It is only fitting that we recognize their exceptional efforts through this HHS Medal of Honor for Organ Donation.”

According to the United Network of Organ Sharing, one donor can save 7 lives through organ donation (heart, liver, pancreas, 2 kidneys, 2 lungs) and enhance more than 50 lives through tissue donation. More than 92,000 people (more than 1,980 children) are currently awaiting an organ transplant in the U.S.; more than 2,400 of those (22 children) are in Virginia.

Pediatric intensivist Chris Foley, M.D., who is also a member of CHKD’s organ donation and transplant committee, attributes the hospital’s success to the teamwork of dedicated professionals from many disciplines, each contributing in unique, important ways, from admission until after death with bereavement support and tribute in the “Butterfly Promise” garden.

“Families are comfortable here and we earn their trust. Bedside nurses, respiratory therapists, social workers, chaplains, child life therapists, unit secretaries and more all play vital roles in meeting our mission: to provide compassionate, quality care to children and their families,” Foley said.

And he credits the “incredible heroism” of families making difficult decisions during tragic times.

“Donation of organs by children stands in stark contrast to adult organ donors, who make the choice themselves in either a living will or, more commonly, on their driver’s license,” Foley said. “Organ donation in children really is a higher level of sacrifice because families need to have the strength to say goodbye to their child and then think of benefiting others with consenting to donate organs -- all this in a matter of hours or a day or two. The courage it takes to turn such a tragedy as losing your child into something that allows another’s child to live cannot be truly measured.”

The awards were announced October 19, 2006, in New Orleans as part of the Organ Donation National Learning Congress.