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Sioux Valley Receives National Honor for Organ Donation

Sioux Valley Hospital USD Medical Center has been awarded with the Health and Human Services (HHS) Medal of Honor Award.

Sioux Valley Hospital USD Medical Center has been awarded with the Health and Human Services (HHS) Medal of Honor Award. Representatives of 371 of the nation’s largest hospitals, together with their partners in 57 organ procurement organizations, were recognized on October 19, 2006 during a meeting in New Orleans of the Breakthrough Collaborative National Learning Congress on Organ Donation and Transplantation.

The prestigious Medal of Honor award is presented to hospitals and organ procurement organizations who achieve life-saving organ donation rates of 75% or more for a sustained twelve month period. For perspective, the national average donation rate in all hospitals in 2005 was 59%, up from 54% in 2004. The Medal of Honor Award is one element of the Organ Donation Breakthrough Collaborative’s two highly successful national initiatives to increase organ donation rates in the nation’s largest hospitals, thus increasing the number of lives saved through transplantation.

"The work of these hospitals and OPOs made possible 1,200 more life-saving and life-enhancing transplants in 2005 compared to 2004," said Elizabeth M. Duke, administrator of HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration, which houses the federal government’s pro-donation activities. "Their achievements show that we can improve systems to boost donation rates and save more lives in the future."

LifeSource, the non-profit organization responsible for managing organ donation activities in the Upper Midwest, partners with hospitals and transplant centers like Sioux Valley Hospital to provide the bridge between the loss of life and the gift of life. In 2005, 181 people in the region generously extended the gift of life to more than 600 people waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Twelve of more than 200 hospitals in the LifeSource region received this prominent national award.

Susan Gunderson, Chief Executive Officer at LifeSource, commented "We are thrilled that so many of our hospitals received this prestigious award. The steadfast support and dedication of our hospitals is truly remarkable, and we are proud to partner with so many organizations that are exceptionally committed to saving lives through donation and transplantation."

Becky Nelson, President of Sioux Valley Hospital USD Medical Center, added, "The staff at Sioux Valley Hospital follows our mission, Dedicated to the Work of Healing. We believe organ donation physically heals the recipient, and it aids in the emotional healing for the donor’s family. We are honored, on behalf of all who have chosen to give the gift of life, to receive this award."

Dedicated hospital staff is vitally important in the life-saving work of organ donation, as are the generous and noble families who give the gift of life. Individuals are also encouraged to talk with their loved ones about their wishes.

Organ donation facts from LifeSource (www.organdonation.org):

  • Over 93,000 people in the United States are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, including more than 2,200 in Minnesota

  • Each day 100 names are added to the national transplant waiting list and, sadly, 17 people die simply because not enough people say yes to donation

  • On average, about 74 people in the United States receive an organ transplant each day.

  • One person can save or enhance up to sixty lives through organ and tissue donation.
With nearly 500 beds, Sioux Valley Hospital USD Medical Center is the largest tertiary hospital in South Dakota. As a full service community-owned hospital, Sioux Valley Hospital provides a full complement of medical and surgical care, both inpatient and outpatient, in all specialties with Centers of Excellence in Heart & Vascular, Orthopedics/Neurology/Trauma, Women’s Children’s, and Cancer. Sioux Valley Hospital is part of the Sioux Valley Health System.


LifeSource is the non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives through organ and tissue donation in the Upper Midwest. The LifeSource service area covers Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and portions of western Wisconsin.