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AtlantiCare, Gift of Life Donor Program honor donors, healthcare teams

AtlantiCare, Gift of Life Donor Program honor donors, healthcare teams

Threads of Love quilt commemorates lives of loved ones

For Immediate Release: April 30, 2014

Quilt squares low res

Gift of Life Threads of Love quilt squares celebrate the lives of local organ donors. When completed, the quilt will hang in the Intensive Care Unit at ARMC Mainland Campus.

Families of donors joined physicians and staff April 16 for a reception marking National Donate Life Month at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center Atlantic City Campus.

"Today we honor organ and tissue donors, transplant recipients, and the AtlantiCare care teams that make donation and transplantation happen," said Rick Hasz, vice president of Clinical Services, Gift of Life Donor Program. "Thousands of patients are in need of a life-saving organ transplants, and it is through our partnership with AtlantiCare that Gift of Life is able to meet the needs of recipients in our community."

Families of four donors took part in a "pinning ceremony," attaching a personalized quilt square representing their loved one onto a Gift of Life Threads of Love quilt celebrating the lives of organ donors. When completed, the quilt will hang in the Intensive Care Unit at ARMC Mainland Campus.

Pamela Peterson, RN, clinical director of Critical Care Nursing, ARMC, presented plaques in recognition ARMC staff members' commitment and compassion during the organ donation process.

Ed Hamaty Jr., DO, chairman, Critical Care, and Kelly Willman, MD, attending Trauma Critical Care surgeon, among others, were honored for their work in support of organ, tissue, and bone donation and transplantation. As the region's only state-designated trauma center, ARMC City Campus treats the most critically ill patients in south-eastern New Jersey and healthcare teams sometimes deals with tragic cases. The Respiratory Therapy and Operating Room Department teams were recognized for their commitment to the organ donation process and compassion for patients and donor families.

Nationwide, 121,000 people are in need of an organ transplant, and nearly 5,000 patients are on a waiting list in New Jersey, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. "We encourage people to make decisions about organ and tissue donation before they need to by signing up for organ donation through the New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles or by writing an advance life directive. This way, family members can honor their loved one's wishes without having to face this difficult end of life decision," Hasz said. "Donations save lives."

"We are proud of the care and support that AtlantiCare provides that allows families to say 'yes' to donation," added Jacki Giuffrida, senior hospital services coordinator, Gift of Life.

A heart transplant saved James Dougherty's life in November 2005. "My doctor gave me six weeks to live," said the Sicklerville, New Jersey man. "I was lucky: within three days of needing a transplant, I was contacted, and the next morning they began surgery."

"I speak to groups and to individuals every week about donation – to let people know it does work, that it saves lives." Dougherty added that families should be proud of the decision that their loved one made. "That person lives on," he said. "I am thankful for my donor every day – the heart my donor gave me is the reason why I am here today. Eight and a half years ago, I was given a death sentence. Because of this heart, I got to walk my daughter down the aisle. Because of this heart, I got to hold my granddaughter hours after she was born. My donor made these things – these gifts – possible for me and for my family."

About Gift of Life

Gift of Life Donor Program is the non-profit, federally designated organ and tissue transplant network serving eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware. Celebrating 40 years of service in 2014, Gift of Life has coordinated more than 36,000 organ transplants, along with more than 500,000 tissue transplants.

Gift of Life encourages those who want to make the commitment to donate to register online at ww.donors1.org. For more information on organ and tissue donation, please call Gift of Life at 1-800-DONORS-1 (1-800-366-6771) or visit at www.donors1.org.

Media Contacts:
Jennifer Tornetta, (O) 609-569-7010, (C) 609-335-3446,

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Betsy Woerner, (O) 609-748-7539, (C) 609-385-6361,
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John Green, (O) 215-557-8090, (C) 215-808-6495,
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AtlantiCare is an integrated system of services designed to help people achieve optimal health. It includes AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, AtlantiCare Health Engagement, the AtlantiCare Foundation, and AtlantiCare Health Services. Its more than 5,221 employees and more than 700 physicians serve the community in nearly 70 locations. A 2009 Malcolm Baldrige Award winner, AtlantiCare was also included in Modern Healthcare's Best Places to Work in Healthcare in 2010. ARMC became the 105th hospital in the nation to attain status as a Magnet™ designated hospital in March of 2004 and was redesignated a Magnet™ hospital in 2008 and 2013.

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