VBMC-Harlingen receives recognition for organ donation efforts

Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen staff and members of the Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen board of trustees celebrate the hospital’s Platinum Recognition for its efforts in organ donation.

HARLINGEN – For the fourth consecutive year, Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen has been nationally recognized for its efforts to help bring the gifts of life and sight to the community it serves through its efforts to promote organ donation.

The Platinum Recognition from the Health Resources & Services Administration as part of the National Organ Donation Campaign and Workplace Partnership for Life is a culmination of hours of dedication and teamwork at Valley Baptist-Harlingen. Valley Baptist has received Platinum Recognition each year since 2016.

From administration to physicians to individual departments such as pastoral services and security, there is an entire team at work to promote organ donation efforts at the hospital, said Tina Briones, Valley Baptist-Harlingen patient experience officer and one of the driving forces behind organ donation.

“This award reflects the tireless efforts by Valley Baptist-Harlingen leadership and staff to promote organ, cornea, and tissue donation,” she said. “This award also shows that organ donation is important not only to our administration, but to all of Valley Baptist’s departments and employees. Valley Baptist-Harlingen is committed to quality of life by being involved in organ donation.”

While Valley Baptist-Harlingen has dedicated itself to raising awareness regarding the importance of organ donation in the Valley, the need for donated organs remains high both locally and throughout the nation. According to the Health Resources & Services Administration, more than 113,000 men, women and children were on the national organ transplant list as of January 2019, and 20 people die each day while awaiting a transplant.

Because 95 percent of adults in the United States support organ donation but only 58 percent are signed up as donors, according to the Health Resources & Services Administration, Briones said that raising awareness regarding the issue is key to chipping away at the staggering need for organ donation.

“Organ donation means life. By donating our organs, we are not only being charitable, but we are helping others to live a better quality of life,” she said. “It is helping our brothers and sisters to live without having to be hooked up to a dialysis machine for the rest of their lives. It means those in our community will live to see their children and grandchildren and great grandchildren live. When we donate, we go on living in someone else’s body. Our corneas allow others to see better, our bones and tissues help others to walk and participate in other daily activities.”

As part of its efforts to raise awareness regarding organ donation, Valley Baptist-Harlingen also hosts a “Wall of Heroes” celebration each April, inviting the community to honor organ donors and their families for so generously giving the gifts of life and sight.

“The Wall of Heroes celebration is recognition of the families and wonderful people who have been organ donors throughout the year,” Briones said. “Raising awareness regarding organ donation truly is a joint effort between Valley Baptist and the community we love and serve.”

For more information on how to register as an organ donor, visit the Donate Life Texas Registry web site at www.DonateLifeTexas.org.

About Valley Baptist Health System

Valley Baptist Health System is an 866-bed faith-based regional health system located in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. It is focused on helping people achieve health for life through compassionate service inspired by faith. Valley Baptist extends many of its services beyond its facilities and into local communities, offering free screenings for the community, support groups and numerous educational opportunities. For more information, visit www.ValleyBaptist.net.