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Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) -  Mayo Clinic today announced plans to establish a Donor Care Unit at St. Marys Hospital.

LifeSource, which oversees human organ, eye, and tissue donation and procurement in Minnesota, North and South Dakota, and areas of western Wisconsin, has teamed up with Mayo Clinic and M Health Fairview to open Donor Care Units in Rochester and the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus. The new facilities are expected to be operational this summer.

photo courtesy M Fairview Health
photo courtesy M Fairview Health
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“We have made excellent progress in organ transplantation, but due to the organ shortage, we are not able to offer it to all eligible patients,” says Julie Heimbach, M.D., director of Mayo Clinic’s Transplant Center in Minnesota. “Establishing a Donor Care Unit is a step toward the ambitious goal of eliminating death on the waiting list for transplant patients and ensures donors’ decisions are honored to the fullest potential.”

According to a news release, people who have authorized organ donation and meet donation criteria by a declaration of brain death or non-survivable injury will be transferred from an intensive care unit into a dedicated donor care unit. The DCU facilities are designed to provide optimal and efficient care of organ donors prior to donation and utilize the most advanced organ recovery techniques.

photo courtesy Lifesource
photo courtesy Lifesource
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LifeSource says the use of donor care units benefits the healthcare systems involved, patients awaiting transplants, and the families of the organ donors by allowing for faster recovery of the organs and the completion of the process. The news release says the time needed to secure operating room space and the surgical team is often why families decline donation.

photo courtesy LifeSource
photo courtesy LifeSource
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The participating medical centers would see more critical care beds and operating rooms available to perform life-saving procedures and care through the transfer of the organ donors. The DCU's should also result in more organs recovered and more successful organ transplants
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Once operational, the donor care units in Rochester and the Twin Cities will receive organ donor transfers from locations throughout Minnesota, along with North and South Dakota and western Wisconsin.

About Organ Donation: Facts & Statistics

  • Over 100,000 men, women and children are on the national transplant waiting list – with nearly 2,300 people in the upper Midwest. A new name is added to the waiting list every 9 minutes.
  • Organ donation is extremely rare, and donors are viewed as heroes. Only 1 percent of people who die get the opportunity to give those gifts. That’s due to a variety of medical and circumstantial criteria, including passing away at a hospital on ventilated support.
  • It takes many people working in concert to make the donation process happen in a short period of time. Watch this video to learn more about the donation process.
  • One person can save eight lives by donating organs; heal more than 75 lives by recovering tissue and restore sight for up to 10 individuals through eye donation.

(Source- LifeSource)

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