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Hospital receives medal of honor

January 29, 2007

Washington County Hospital received the Organ Donation Medal of Honor from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday, Jan. 18. Representatives from the Transplant Resource Center of Maryland, as well as a donor recipient and the mother of an organ donor were among the guests at the ceremony held at the hospital.

The Organ Donation Medal of Honor is presented to hospitals for achieving and sustaining a donation rate of 75 percent or more of eligible donors. Washington County Hospital's donation rate - percentage of families approached with the option of donation that chose to donate their loved ones' organs - was 87.5 percent, up from 2005 when the hospital received the medal for a rate of 83 percent. In 2006, the hospital had five organ donors and 13 tissue donors. From the five organ donors, multiple organs were donated, helping an average of four to five people per donor.

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Karen Kennedy, clinical director of the Transplant Resource Center of Maryland, presented the award. Karen said that there are local people on the waiting list for a transplant, but it is through the efforts of everyone at Washington County Hospital that lives are saved.

Laura Rye, hospital services coordinator with the center, read a letter on behalf of Kailyn Wroten Petty and Helen M. Chichester, sister and mother of Jeffery A. Wroten, a correctional officer at Roxbury Correctional Institution who was shot while guarding an inmate at Washington County Hospital in January 2006. Wroten's organs were donated after his death.

"By donating his organs we could ensure that his life and his death were not in vain. He would go on helping others. Jeff would have wanted that," Petty and Chichester wrote.

Harriett Heyman of Baltimore attended the reception to share her story as a kidney donor recipient. She received a transplant in 2001 after she was diagnosed with renal failure, a condition in which the kidneys fail to function properly.

"I wouldn't be here without the gift I received from my donor," Heyman said.

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