Each month LifeCenter Northwest (LCNW) establishes a Lifesaver Award. This award honors and recognizes those who demonstrate a commitment to improving donation outcomes and culture through their actions, time, and energy. We are proud to honor the ICU team from Astria Regional Medical Center.  

During a recent organ donation case, the Astria ICU team went above and beyond to support a donor family and make donation possible. The dynamics of the patient and the family were relatively complicated and each member of this team acted with the utmost support, respect, and care.

Dr. John Koszuta displayed his advocacy for the donation process with enthusiasm, curiosity, and empathy. He made himself available to help in every way possible. One of the most challenging aspects of this case was a language barrier. Although the family did not speak English, Dr. John Koszuta shared his condolences with the family at the patient’s bedside and connected with the donor parents in a way that did not need words. The family shared with our team that although they did not speak English, the doctor’s sentiment and compassion were conveyed and they were comforted by seeing him every day.   

LifeCenter Northwest presents the LifeSaver Award to the Astria Regional Medical Center ICU Team

There were several nurses who stood out on this case as well. Verna Madison and Jacob Daum collaborated with the LifeCenter Northwest team seamlessly. Their investment and love into this patient was evident in everything they did. Each of their actions was carefully thought out to ensure they would support the option for donation and healing for the donor family. Beatriz Jimenez served as a translator throughout the case and connected with the family in a special and meaningful way. She was also present in the OR during recovery, which gave the family reassurance that someone familiar was with their loved one and that the donor was being treated with care and respect, even after death.  

Respiratory therapists (RT) Mike Pendergast and Bill Hansen were instrumental in assuring the donor’s lungs were able to be recovered for transplant. To say they were collaborative wouldn’t be enough; both RTs asked many questions and curious about the donation process. Overall, everyone on this unit from the Hospital Unit Coordinator to chaplain, Sister Fe were phenomenal caregivers!

Lastly, we’d like to recognize Chief Nursing Officer Sara Williamson for her unwavering support. Sara was on the unit every day of this case, supporting her team and the LifeCenter Northwest team, asking questions about what was needed, and staying informed about the process. She organized an Honor Walk and was active in getting people there on time, preparing everyone for the walk, and supporting the family.

The collective work and dedication of this unit not only made organ donation possible, it left a family feeling loved and supported during a time of immense grief. The family shared that even though they felt great sadness, they were grateful that the hospital staff simply wanted to thank their loved one for passing along the gift of life. The patient’s parents said that knowing their child’s last action meant something great to the staff made it easier to leave the hospital.

Thank you to the Astria Regional Medical Center ICU team for their compassion, dedication, and collaboration in helping us save lives!