JUNE 2009

Friends with Ties to Donation Participate in Paired Kidney Exchange

Living Donor Tracey Knotts (left) and Kidney Recipient Sharon Loggia.

Tracey Knotts, Regional Manager for the International Institute for the Advancement of Medicine (IIAM), recently helped give the gift of life to long-time friend, Sharon Loggia, a Renal Placement Coordinator for Donor Network of Arizona (DNA).

People often ask why someone would make a living donation to a person who isn’t a relative. "It seemed like the right thing to do," said Tracey. "I spend so much time talking to donor families about donation. I can only ask myself to do the right thing."

Sharon had been a diabetic since childhood and Tracey witnessed her friend become sicker over time. Sharon’s husband, Phillip, donated a kidney to her 13 years ago, but it started to fail about two years ago.

"My first transplant allowed me to watch my two girls grow up," said Sharon. “A second transplant will allow me to enjoy their adulthood."

A visit with Sharon to her dialysis center confirmed Tracey's decision to become a living donor. “It's one of the saddest things I’ve ever had to witness. Hardly anyone in there had legs because their diabetes was so bad. Everyone should visit a dialysis center. Then everyone would want to become a donor."

Yet Tracey had a difficult time convincing Sharon to accept her kidney.

"She kept telling me no," said Tracey. Then Sharon was put on the United Network Organ Sharing (UNOS) waiting list. After six months, Sharon still didn’t have a donor. "She finally took my offer," said Tracey.

Tracey was tested to become a donor and discovered that she was not a match for Sharon. Instead, they entered into a paired exchange program. Tracey was matched with someone else waiting for a kidney, and someone who was a match with Sharon would become her donor.

Sharon wanted to be sure Tracey knew what she was getting into. "I kept asking her if she was sure, as this was a totally different ballgame now since her kidney would not be going to me. She never once had second thoughts about saving life. It didn’t matter that her kidney wouldn’t go directly to me."

"When I found out I wasn't a match for Sharon, I knew there was still hope for her," said Tracey. "A stranger would get my kidney, but the outcome for Sharon would be the same, a healthy kidney, so it's actually better that two people get helped instead of one. She went through the work-up process with me even though she was very sick and knew we weren't a match."

On December 17, 2008 there were eight surgeries (four paired exchanges) in one day. All surgeries in total took 14 hours and four surgeons to complete. "I don’t know who my recipient is, but I'm going to write her a letter. I just know that she’s 42 years old," said Tracey.

Tracey was back to work in five weeks. Sharon went back to work even sooner.

"People keep saying I'm in shock, and it hasn’t really hit me yet," said Tracey. "Sometimes I'll be driving down the street, and I'll say out of the blue, 'Someone has my kidney!'"

"I can not thank Tracey enough," said Sharon. "It is a rare thing to find a true loved one in this life. For me to have two of them in my lifetime is absolutely miraculous."

Mark Spilker joins MTF as Vice President of Research & Development

Mark Spilker, PhD, has joined MTF as Vice President, Research & Development, responsible for the overall strategic direction and management of the Research Division. Mark will assume responsibilities formerly handled by Art Gertzman, who has taken on a part-time role as Vice President of Allograft Technology. Art is concentrating on protecting and expanding MTF's portfolio of intellectual property.

Mark has many years of experience in research, technology planning and strategy, medical device product development, and program management. Most recently, he was Vice President, Research & Development and Program Management at Integra LifeSciences Holding Corporation.

Over his career, Mark has been responsible for leading development and program management teams in the areas of tissue-engineered biologics, electro-mechanical devices, and electronics. He has launched many new products and served as a company resource for best practices in product development & design controls.

Mark holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Utah. He also attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he earned both a Master of Science and a Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering.

He has a wife, two sons and a new baby girl. In his spare time, Mark enjoys running, cycling, swimming and "surviving" triathlons.

"I'm pleased to be a part of the MTF team," said Mark. "It has been clear every day since my arrival that MTF values the gift of tissue donation and that the employees work to honor that gift and improve the lives of the recipients. The work being done in MTF R&D today will result in changes in patient care 5-10 years from now."

MTF Announces Two New Programs that Reflect 2009 MTF Corporate Goals


MTF Mentoring Program—In order for an organization to thrive, it must have a process for regenerating itself from within its own ranks. Studies show that mentoring is a cost-effective way to develop and retain a skilled workforce. While in many organizations employees already have informal mentors, MTF has begun rollout of a formal program, where a qualified mentor is assigned to a protégé. This program is tied to one of MTF’s corporate goals for 2009, which is to continue staff training and development.

According to MTF Human Resources Consultant Courtney Eidel, “the benefits to protégés include the acquisition of new technical, interpersonal or management skills, professional development and career direction.”

MTF Green Team—On Earth Day, April 22, MTF officially kicked-off its new recycling/conservation program which aligns with another 2009 MTF corporate goal to reduce the net amount of waste generated at each of its facilities, and to help MTF become more ecologically and environmentally responsible. The MTF Green Team is made up of representatives from all MTF sites, and from most departments. They have been tasked with identifying ways that can help us all reduce, reuse and recycle. 

Many recycling programs are already in effect at MTF. At the Edison, NJ facility, Denise Turlish, Manager of Purchasing, and Barbara Budgake, Specialist, Supply and Equipment, Donor Services Division, have been focusing on a variety of recycling efforts in a manner that honors the donor gift while being environmentally sensitive and responsible. Some of the conservation measures they have implemented include:

Recovery Pack in the Box Used to Transport Donated Tissue
Since last year, MTF has worked with its recovery pack supplier on a "Pack in a Box” plan. Our supplier provides MTF with the necessary recovery pack supplies,

which we then pack with the box used to transport donated tissue. We pack and ship the supplies and box together to our programs, which cuts down on the amount of shipments and transportation costs, makes less cardboard to recycle, and saves money.

Currently programs have the choice of four types of prosthetics, including wood, PVC, Non-PVC and BioBones. MTF encourages the use of BioBones because they are biodegradable.

Dermatome Blades
Our Dermatome blades are quite costly and generally used only one time. MTF has contracted with Medisiss to refurbish our dermatome blades for additional use. Medisiss is also FDA compliant.

Box Used to Transport Donated Tissue
Our box used to transport donated tissue is made of Styrofoam, used once and thrown out, which takes up a considerable amount of space in our dumpsters and then in a landfill. We now work with Cold Chain Technologies, which manufactures the boxes, to recycle them in their new facility in Bloomsburg, PA. The boxes are shipped from Edison to our Olyphant, PA facility and stored in a trailer. When the trailer is full, Cold Chain picks it up for return to their facility. The company refigures the boxes into the Styrofoam that protects small appliances purchased at retail stores. Currently, box recycling is only available on the East coast, but MTF is researching recyclers for its West coast facilities.

Look for more conservation strategies in future issues of TxFiles.

New Public and Professional Awareness Tools from MTF


Tissue Man Poster—A new, hip image promoting tissue donation is showing up at hospitals and organizations nationwide this month.  

Full color, glossy posters show a happy 20-something man and the tissues he can donate, including heart valves, bone, eyes, skin, blood vessels, cartilage and tendons.

The poster, titled: "It's What’s on the Inside that Counts" is part of MTF’s public and professional efforts to bring more awareness to the need for tissue donation. 

Tyler Fisher Clinical Case Study—A new case study features Tyler Fisher’s story, who was six-years old when he was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma in his right leg. Successful limb reconstruction surgery using donated bone saved him from amputation. Tyler is now nine years old and cancer free. The clinical case study also includes pre and post-operative x-rays. To view the pdf of this study, open this link.

To order these new materials, and other existing materials from the MTF Communications Department, contact Tracy Jean at Tracy_Jean@mtf.org or 732-661-2132.

Statline Reaches New Milestone


In February 2009, Statline handled its 7 millionth death referral. Since 1997, Statline, a division of MTF, has provided highly specialized communications expertise to organ and tissue procurement organizations and the hospitals they serve. Statline works with over 70 OPOs, Eye Banks and Tissue Banks across the US and Canada to ensure that the gift of donation can proceed.

Deidre Ellis, General Manager, calls this milestone a remarkable achievement. "This demonstrates our clients' trust and commitment to our work on their behalf to ensure that every donor can make a difference."

Statline’s role in the donation process goes almost entirely unnoticed by the general public, yet Statline plays an important function in screening death referrals for potential organ and tissue donation. Statline currently handles approximately 40 percent of all death referrals in the nation. 

The triage coordinator who took the call, Rich Bowers, is relatively new to the organization. He said this call was from a physician in San Francisco reporting the death of an 80 year old woman. Bowers said the case was ruled out for donation due to medical reasons, but this highlights the wide range of people with the potential to donate.

Statline, located in the Denver Tech Center, employs 80 people and provides the 24/7 vital link between organ and tissue procurement organizations and the donation community. Services include critical communications, software and high-speed technology to support donor screening, messaging, and donor registry database development and search capability access. Statline also offers DonorTrac, an electronic donation management system that tracks each donor from death referral to organ/tissue donor placement. 

MTF Salutes Outstanding Recovery Partner Programs


"I measure success in terms of the contributions one makes to his or her fellow human beings." –Margaret Mead

MTF announced the 2008 Achievement and Technical Awards at its recent Technical Symposium held in Chicago. This series of awards is given to organizations throughout the country in recognition of their excellence in tissue donation and recovery services.

Mike Real, MTF Vice President of Procurement, states "We value the hard work and contributions of all our recovery partners. Their day-to-day commitment in this vital work allows us to meet the needs of donors, their families and tissue recipients."

Achievement Awards:

Given in recognition for the highest number of MTF donors recovered per million (dpm) population: Life Alaska Donor Services (104 dpm)

Given in recognition for the highest percentage increase in musculoskeletal donors recovered from the previous year: Organ Donor Center of Hawaii (42% increase)

Technical Awards:

The Golden Glove Award, given in recognition of excellence in the sterile recovery of allografts for transplantation:
LifeBanc (Pre/No Autopsy)
Carolina Donor Services (Post Autopsy)

The Golden Scalpel Awards, given in recognition of superior surgical technique of soft tissue allografts, in two categories based on size of Recovery Partner in numbers of donors: 
Intermountain Donor Services (large partner)
LifeChoice Donor Services (small partner)

The Golden Hourglass Award, given in recognition of excellence in the facilitation of donor releases:

Olga Kuzyszyn (left), MTF Technical Manager, presents Golden Hourglass Award to Cindy Woodward, Senior Tissue Case Manager, LifePoint

The following Recovery Partners were also recognized with certificates for reaching a level of "best practice":
Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency
MTF Tissue Services California
MTF Tissue Services Wisconsin

The Golden Graft Awards are given in recognition for excellence in the recovery of skin grafts:
Life Center Northwest - split thickness
OneLegacy - dermal

The Golden Mortarboard, given in recognition of participation in the NOCC Education Program and based on size of Recovery Partners in number of employees:
Gift of Life Donor Program (large partner)
Wisconsin Tissue Services (small partner)

Mid-South Transplant Foundation Enters New Tissue Recovery Partnership with MTF


On May 1, 2009, Mid-South Transplant Foundation (MSTF) and MTF formed a new tissue recovery partnership. MSTF, the federally designated organ procurement organization that has served the Tri-State area of Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi for over 32 years, is proud to announce that it will expand its mission and scope of services to include tissue recovery.

"We believe adding tissue recovery as a service line is a natural extension of our business practice as it allows us to better streamline the process of donation for the families we serve, as well as for the hospital staff and other healthcare professionals with whom we work," said Kim Van Frank, Executive Director of MSTF.

Bruce Stroever, MTF President and CEO, agreed "both organizations are very like-minded in our missions to provide quality tissue for transplantation and the utmost care to our donor families who generously gave the gift of life."