‘So grateful to potentially save a life’
St. Michael’s awarded for commitment to organ and tissue donation
Toronto, October 9, 2019
By Ana Gajic
When Rosemin thinks of her sister Zahara, she remembers her love of family, her infinite generosity and the way she could light up a room.
So when a cerebral hemorrhage brought Zahara to the intensive care unit (ICU) at St. Michael’s Hospital and Rosemin learned her sister had signed up to be an organ donor, she wasn’t surprised.
“The fact that she thought to help people that she didn’t know through organ donation – that’s just the kind of person she was,” Rosemin said.
Zahara, 45, passed away in the ICU. With the help of the St. Michael’s team and the support of her family, she was able to become an organ donor and fulfill her last wish.
Supporting patients and their families through organ and tissue donation
This year, St. Michael’s has been awarded the Provincial Conversion Rate Award from Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN) for the teams’ work with organ and tissue donation and for supporting families through a difficult and important process.
On behalf of St. Michael’s, Sonya Canzian receives the Provincial Conversion Rate Award from Trillium Gift of Life Network.
Every year, TGLN sets a goal for the Provincial Conversion Rate, asking hospitals to meet the target conversion rate of 63 per cent. The conversion rate is the percentage of potential organ donors (patients who die in a hospital setting and are deemed medically suitable for donation) who become actual donors. St. Michael’s met the goal this year with 18 organ donors, leading to 73 transplants, as well as 35 tissue donors. St. Joseph’s Health Centre, another site of Unity Health Toronto, also met this year’s conversion goal.
“Every eligible family is offered the opportunity to save lives through organ and tissue donation as part of our effort to create the best end-of-life care experiences,” said Sonya Canzian, vice-president of Clinical Programs at St. Michael’s, and chief nursing and health professions officer. “We’re proud to receive this award, on behalf of all our staff and families who work together to enhance lives through donation.”
This year, St. Michael’s is also recognizing three hidden heroes of organ and tissue donation, whose efforts help the hospital save and improve lives:
- Trisha Bazilewich, a clerical assistant in Perioperative Services
- Nicole Fricker, a clinical assistant in the Trauma/Neuro ICU
- Kaitlynn Kylie, a registered nurse in the Emergency Department
The impact of donation on staff and families
For Emily Boyle, a registered nurse in the Trauma/Neuro ICU, supporting families is a key part of her role. She sees the impact the team’s work with organ and tissue donation has on families grieving their loved ones.
“For the families who do decide to move forward with donation, they’re always focused on helping someone else,” she said. “It’s hopeful to be able to know that their loved one’s memory will live on in this way and know that they’ve helped somebody.”
The teams at St. Michael’s were able to offer Rosemin a sense of comfort and relief at a difficult time, she said.
“It was painful to see my sister in the hospital bed, not moving and not talking. But the teams at St. Michael’s treated her with respect. They kept her very comfortable and they gave us time to spend with her until the very end. That was one of the most important things they did for us and it was amazing.
“We are so grateful to them. So grateful Zahara was able to potentially save someone else’s life.”
Sign up to be a donor, or check your registration status online today at our donor drive.
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 more than 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.