SAN ANTONIO, Texas
— Feb. 6, 2020 — Texas Organ Sharing Alliance (TOSA), the organ procurement organization that provides organ donation and recovery services in Central and South Texas, announced it has collaborated with a coalition of donor recovery agencies to create a specialized facility in University Hospital to expedite the recovery of organ, eye and tissue. The first-of-its-kind recovery center will allow families to begin their grieving and memorial services in a more timely manner while saving additional lives through increased donations.
The Center for Life (CFL), staffed by TOSA and University Hospital employees, will streamline the process of organ, eye and tissue recovery for TOSA, GenCure and the San Antonio Eye Bank; create more successful transplant outcomes; alleviate the stress on the transplant waiting list and help families start healing sooner. The facility will officially open in February.
The new Center for Life will provide space for donation recovery agencies to maintain donors prior to their donation while dedicated surgical suites and medical staff help to fulfill a patient's wishes to help the greatest number of recipients possible. The Center for Life's association with the UT Health San Antonio academic medical staff at University Hospital will also enable this collaborative team to conduct new research to improve organ recovery even further.
"The Center for Life offers a great opportunity for University Hospital to further fulfill its mission of offering life-saving services to patients in need, " said Mike Roussos, the administrator at University Hospital. "We have proudly watched as our University Transplant Center works with community partners to expand the availability of donor organs and provide transplants for patients who might otherwise spend years on a waiting list. We are honored to have this state-of-the-art facility in our hospital, which will offer a dignified setting for donor families, as their loved ones provide the gift of life to others."
Previously, donation agencies were dependent on finding time for the recovery within the donor hospital's operating room schedule. For donor families, this often meant long nights in the hospital if they wanted to stay with their loved one until the recovery began. By establishing a special facility, these families are no longer burdened with the extra waiting time. The Center will include a dedicated family area that will provide a respectful place for loved ones to gather and say goodbye.
"It's important to us that our families can begin the grieving process and start making funeral arrangements for their loved one," said TOSA President & CEO Dr. Joseph Nespral. "Ultimately, this also helps us accomplish our mission, which is to save lives through the power of organ donation; the fact that we can complete both objectives makes our new endeavor all the more necessary."
Organs recovered at the Center for Life will continue to be provided to recipients based on criteria established through the national organ waiting lists. The difference is that more organs will be recovered, reducing the long wait for many patients who need help.
Nationwide, 113,800 people are awaiting a life-saving organ transplant, including more than 10,000 Texans. A single person has the power to save eight lives as an organ donor and improve the lives of 75 others through tissue donation. Sign up today at www.DonateLifeTexas.org.