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Dr. Andrew Baker receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Toronto, April 28, 2016

By Marc Dodsworth

Dr. Andrew Baker receives Lifetime Achievement Award
Dr. Andrew Baker receives Lifetime Achievement Award. (Photo by Geoff Koehler)

Trillium Gift of Life Network, the government agency responsible for organ and tissue donation and transplantation in Ontario, awarded Dr. Andrew Baker a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the advancement of organ donation in Ontario and research in donation science.

Dr. Baker, chief of critical care at St. Michael’s Hospital and medical director of the Trauma and Neurosurgery program, was instrumental in expanding the province’s pool of eligible organ donors.

In 2005/2006, 169 deceased organ donors in Ontario gifted organ or tissue to a patient in need. In 2014/2015, there were 271 deceased organ donors. A big reason for that boon was Ontario’s adoption of donation after circulatory death (DCD)—the donation of organs from patients who are pronounced dead on the basis of cardiac and circulatory criteria.

One-third of Ontario’s 271 deceased organ donors last year donated after circulatory death. The implementation of DCD made a profound impact on the number of people who can give the gift of life. Clinicians can reach more patients in need of organs and reach them earlier.

“Our goal is to ensure that when donation is a possibility, families have the information they need and the opportunity to make a choice,” said Ronnie Gavsie, president and CEO of Trillium Gift of Life Network. “The advancement of donation after circulatory death means that more families are being offered this as an option.”

Gavsie said Dr. Baker’s strong advocacy has significantly contributed to the advancement of organ donation in Ontario.

In keeping with its mission, values, and philosophy, St. Michael’s became the first hospital in Ontario to have a DCD policy passed by its Board of Directors, leading the way for other hospitals to follow suit.

“Dr. Baker embodies St. Michael’s values,” said Dr. Robert Howard, president and CEO of St. Michael’s. “Andrew’s ongoing commitment to advocating and advancing organ donation and transplantation through research and in clinical practice is part of what makes St. Michael’s Canada’s premier critical care hospital.”

Trillium Gift of Life Network also awarded St. Michael’s a Hospital Achievement Award for exceeding Ontario’s target donor conversion rate—the measure of potential donors that go on to save lives as actual organ donors.

“These awards are reflective of the effort, care and attention our staff give to patients at St. Michael’s,” said Dr. Baker. “We connect with Trillium Gift of Life Network early, we talk to families and we offer them choices during the worst time of their lives–choices that help to bring something positive out of a difficult situation.”

By talking to eligible organ donors and their families, St. Michael’s staff far exceeded Ontario’s 2014/15 target donor conversion rate of 67 per cent. Out of all potential donors at St. Michael’s, 84 per cent went on to give the gift of life.

St. Michael’s is one of three hospitals in the province which has exceeded Trillium Gift of Life Network’s target conversion rate for four or more consecutive years.

“St. Michael’s and Ontario are among the leading donor jurisdictions in the world,” said Dr. Baker. “We are honoured to know that Trillium Gift of Life Network recognizes our commitment to improving and saving the lives of patients who are in need of critical organs.”

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.