Message from Deepak
We have now completed our transition from the Australian Red Cross Blood Service (ARCBS). We would like to say how grateful we are for the cooperation and assistance from the ARCBS in facilitating the transition and providing infrastructure and support to our service. We will continue to have a close working relationship with them through the provision of tissue typing services.
We have nearly our full complement of staff and have recently completed our first Orientation Day and many new staff completed the ADAPT workshops. The feedback from the day indicated a positive response and It was a great opportunity to meet our new clinical teams. I am sure they felt part of a dynamic and committed team that will deliver improvements in organ donation in NSW and the ACT. Thank you to everybody for making the day a success.
The National Launch in November precipitated media interest in the State and I have been conducting media interviews talking about our new DonateLife national network.
In the next few weeks we will begin our Clinical Trigger Implementation program. Promotion and educational material for this program will be sent out to you soon.
I would like to welcome our new Nurse Manager, Ms Ellie McCann who will make a significant contribution to the education, communication, teamwork and organisation of our nursing networks and bereavement service.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. I would like to thank you for your contribution to the service throughout the year and look forward to seeing you at our Induction Program in February.
Meet Dr Andrew Cheng
Dr Andrew Cheng knows an opportunity when he sees one. Not only has he joined the DonateLife network as the Medical Director at St George Hospital, he also “seized the day” recently when he casually observed the Prime Minister, Mr Kevin Rudd.
Andrew spotted our PM and his wife Ms Therese Rein dining at a café at Circular Quay in Sydney one night and walked up to him. Andrew introduced himself, shook his hand and thanked him for the additional resources in the sector – including Andrew’s position.
Andrew said “I was surprised at the lack of security around him – there they were just like any regular couple having dinner. But I’m sure the security was there."
“I was really impressed by his knowledge of organ donation and he was able to talk off-the-cuff’ and tell me about the government’s $151 million for the sector. He encouraged me to do a good job."Andrew has a background in neurosurgery and intensive care medicine. Recently he has worked in the Intensive Care Unit at St George Hospital and sees his appointment as a way to continue his association with intensive care medicine at the hospital.
“I was encouraged to apply for the job by a colleague who sits on the State Liaison Committee for NSW. The role fits in well with my personal ethos of medicine – to save lives. Working in neurosurgery there was an enormous satisfaction in saving lives, and working in ICU you can’t always save a life; organ donation facilitates the process so that others lives can be transformed."
“I hope to build up my area of expertise in organ donation and use it to develop a sub specialty and do clinical research."
Andrew is personally touched by the benefits of transplantation; when his daughter was just six years old she developed a cancer and needed a bone marrow transplant. Now 16 she is a typical healthy teenager. Born in Singapore, Andrew speaks Mandarin and spent many years in New Zealand after his father, also a doctor and mother decided to move there.
Apart from his family life as a father of three which keeps him busy, Andrew enjoys listening to classical music, skiing and is a passionate supporter of the beautiful world game – soccer.
Dr Cheng will be of valuable assistance by helping us to inform the Chinese Community about the lifesaving benefits of organ donation.
Welcome Ellie McCann
NSW has just appointed Nurse Manager, Ms Ellie McCann. Ellie will be responsible for the nursing positions of the DonateLife network. These positions are at the forefront of donor identification and family support.
Ellie comes to organ donation with an impressive background in nursing management. Most recently she worked on the development of the Endoscopy Service at Westmead Hospital, including organisational improvement, medical and nursing staff education as well as patient care and patient outcomes.
“The unit is now the largest Endoscopy Service in Australia and ranked highly on the International level,” Ellie proudly says.
Ellie held the position of Co Chair in GMCT - Gastroenterology and also has extensive experience in both Public and Private sectors including managing a private nursing employment agency.
She has experience in nursing specialities such as nursing education, operating suite, palliative care, medical, surgical and high dependency.
When asked about her new appointment Ellie said:
“I am passionate about the service I now manage and I am focused and driven to improve the service quality, with better outcomes for patients, family and staff."
“My focus will be teamwork, communication and education. I am looking forward to being able to support my nursing team to reach their full potential.”
Our own organ donor star
Stars and Starlight were the theme of this year’s Remembrance and Thanksgiving Service in the Hunter New England region.
Organ Donor Coordinator for the region, Nicole Coleman was so touched by the Eskimo proverb that is sent to donor families, that she went out and brought a star and called it the Organ and Tissue donor’s star.
Nicole said “I liked the proverb we provide to our donor families and the families really seem to like it."
“We will have the star for ever and it will shine in recognition of all Organ and Tissue Donors“ Nicole said.
And not just any star, because the star is part of the Phoenix constellation representing the regeneration of life and immortality. It was specifically chosen because it shines brightest around the 24th October each year- and the date for the Remembrance Service in the region.
Whilst the star will not be seen all year, if you go to the observatory in Sydney, astronomers will locate it for you.
“Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know They are happy.” ANON
Zaidee’s Day — Children’s Hospital Westmead
At the CHW there was a very successful Zaidee’s Day. The Zaidee Foundation aims to make organ and tissue donation awareness more prevalent in our community by informing parents of the importance of discussing organ donation with their children. The CHW set up a stand in the main foyer of the hospital with many parents of past recipients lending a helping hand. A great deal of interest was displayed by the public and staff with many asking how to register both themselves and their children for organ and tissue donation.
Thank you to all of the staff that were involved in making the day successful including paediatric ICU medical and nursing staff and domestic services.
Over the past few weeks, Deepak and Ellie have commenced meeting with the hospital based teams to prepare plans for the implementation of the reform package in their Area Heath Service.
This has also allowed the teams to gain further insight into the specific roles of staff at the Kogarah office.
The Prime Minister becomes Australia’s first DonateLife Family
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd launched the DonateLife national network by becoming Australia’s first DonateLife Family.
“We have made the decision to become a DonateLife Family because we know the importance of knowing each other’s wishes about organ donation," the Prime Minister said.
“If Australians know their loved one’s wishes we would have a higher family consent rate because when families know each other’s wishes, they are more likely to consent to donation”, Prime Minister Rudd said.Ms Karen Murphy, Chief Executive Officer of the new Australian Organ and Tissue Authority said “that the need for Australian families to discuss organ donation is vital."
"Our organ donation rate has been static for the past decade at around 200 organ donors per year. In 2008 we saw a 30% increase in donation. Our aim is to lift the current family consent rate of 56% to 80%, thereby enabling more Australians to receive the most precious gift."
The launch is supported by billboard advertising and bus advertising throughout the country and will encourage Australians to Discover, Decide and Discuss organ donation. For more information please visit www.donatelife.gov.au.