In an effort to celebrate the successes and highlight the unique obstacles of our donation partners, we interviewed leaders from around our region to ask why donation is important to them, share what is unique about their region and what they enjoy most about living and working where they do. We are proud to feature Tony McLean, Market President- South King Region, CHI Franciscan as this month’s “Leader in Donation.”

Tony McLean, Market President-South King Region, CHI Franciscan

What does organ and tissue donation mean to you?

We make a promise to every patient that we will do everything we can to get them the best outcome. Sometimes that means having a treatment and that treatment can be a critically needed tissue or scarcely needed organ. For the recipient of these donations in our network of care, it means a lot because they are hard to come by, and they are life changing. For the donors who meet a tragic outcome we try to honor the transition that the family is making. When we talk with our families about organ donation they recognize that it would honor the person they love. It’s bittersweet. A tragic circumstance makes a miraculous circumstance possible. Usually the family feels a sense of grace by it. And we, as care givers, feel it too. 

Why has your donation program beenso successful and what drives you to make donation a priority in your hospital?

I think part of our success is from LifeCenter’s rapid and ready service to educate our teams and demystify donation. LifeCenter offers whatever resources we need to take it to the next level. Every year we get feedback on where we are, what we can be doing better, where we are shining. We can then focus on how to improve. I think it also helps that we are a health system. We don’t compete, but we are always learning from each other. That’s been really helpful.

Key point: Having one donation agency for organ and tissue recovery helps provide many benefits including creating continuity, consistent education, communication, and streamlined policies and procedures for each hospital in the system.

What makes you most proud of working at your hospital and why?

I am inspired by people who are passionate about putting others first. We are all connected and if we can be there for someone, why not? I get a lot of energy from the people at St. Francis and Highline and all the people at CHI Franciscan. On our worst days, I see the most courageous, passionate, dedicated acts. I get a lot of energy out of people who care about other people. I am honored to care for our staff so that they can care for our patients, which goes along with our mission at CHI Franciscan.

What’s unique about healthcare inyour region?

The big, obvious distinction is that we are in a large metropolitan area. We are dealing with some challenges that exist everywhere but are more acute in our hospitals.  We are dealing with the homeless or unstably housed. You see that across the country, but hospitals particularly in cities are becoming a refuge, the one place you can still go for help. We are trying to figure out what do we do besides medical care to help them get their lives back. I don’t know that it is unique, but it’s a big need in our hospitals. We also deal with a level of trauma care where you are the big hospital like St. Joseph’s dealing with fragile, life critical patient care or first responding hospital like St. Francis, where we deal with a range from perfectly normal newborns to major tragic accidents where it’s literally anyone’s guess on whether the patient will live. It’s a lot of diversity to juggle, but it’s awesome to have the opportunity to serve all those different types of people.

What do you love about living in your city/region?

I was fascinated by the west coast from a young age. What I loved about it was that a lot of people come from somewhere else or they are just recently from there, so they have this frontier mindset, this sense of pioneering and possibility which crafted a sense of openness. It’s no accident that some of the most pioneering, multinational companies in the world like Amazon and Microsoft are here.