More Albany Med Families Choose Gift of Life in Record Year

Despite the many challenges the pandemic imposed on health care in 2020, the need for organs and tissues for transplant remained, and so did the generosity of donors.

In fact, more Albany Med patient families agreed to donate their loved ones’ organs or tissues last year than any other year on record for the hospital. More than 45 families chose to give the gift of life through organ donation after the sudden loss of a loved one, resulting in 76 lifesaving organ transplants saving 70 lives. In addition, 108 families gave the gift of tissue donation, improving the quality of life for over 6,900 people.

Albany Med staff worked closely with the Center for Donation and Transplant (CDT) to facilitate each donation.

“The donation process is a complex, team effort. Physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, unit support staff, operating room staff, anesthesiology, pathology, laboratory services and many others came together to honor these patients and their families,” said Michael Thibault, executive director of CDT. “It is CDT’s greatest honor to partner with Albany Med to comfort families through sudden loss and contribute to the lifesaving miracle of transplantation. On behalf of the many donor families and grateful recipients, thank you.”

Thibault also acknowledges Albany Med’s leadership for its commitment to organ and tissue donation and its continued support of donor families, ensuring the process goes smoothly and implementing several programs to honor its donors.

Each Albany Med donor is memorialized with an engraved plaque — in the shape of leaves for adults and butterflies for children — on the Tree of Life memorial located in the hospital’s Patient Pavilion atrium, and a Donate Life flag continuously flies outside of the building in support of organ and tissue donation. The annual donor family memorial ceremony that is typically held has been postponed due to the pandemic.

While many lives were saved in 2020, there is still much work to be done. More than 110,000 people in the United States continue to await lifesaving organ transplants, and 8,000 people die each year due to the lack of available organs. April is declared Donate Life Month to encourage Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors and to honor those that have saved lives through the gift of donation.

Albany Med will celebrate Donate Life Month by lighting its Pillars entrance blue and green and encouraging staff to wear the symbolic colors on April 16, National Blue and Green Day.