TOSA nominated the STHS employees for their important efforts to help ensure organ donations

The end of one person’s life can be another’s second chance. More than 100,000 adults and children in the U.S. are on the national transplant waiting list — nearly 10,000 in Texas alone, according to organdonor.gov. While 98% of Americans are in favor of being a donor, less than 60% are registered, per the Donor Network West. An Organ donor can save eight lives and enhance more than 75 more; all it takes is signing up through a state donor registry.

In 2021, across several of South Texas Health System’s acute care hospitals, 10 patients helped give the gift of life through organ donation. Recipients and their families and loved ones have more than just the donor and surgeons to thank. There is an entire team spanning multiple departments behind each donation.

On Tuesday, February 15, two STHS employees were recognized by the Texas Organ Sharing Alliance (TOSA) for their outstanding efforts in facilitating donations. Representatives from TOSA visited STHS McAllen to bestow Information Services (IS) Clinical Systems Specialist Noe Alvarado and STHS McAllen Director of Surgical Services Sharon Martinez with TOSA Donation Advocate plaques and awards.

Alvarado and Martinez were nominated by the organization for their commitment and dedication to helping maintain the hospital’s established culture of organ donation.

“Texas Organ Sharing Alliance cannot accomplish the mission of saving lives through the power of organ donation without the help and support of our donor hospitals and their dedicated staff,” TOSA Senior Communications Coordinator Edwina Garza said. “These awards recognize the efforts these donation advocates have made in helping us save lives.”

Alvarado helps TOSA coordinators by providing secure electronic medical record access and assisting with any arising technical difficulties. Earlier this year, he was also recognized by the San Antonio Eye Bank with an Excellence in Partnership Award.

Martinez helps accommodate organ donor patients in the operating room, which has been especially challenging over the past few years with waves of upticks in admissions and staffing shortages that have resulted from the pandemic.

“Being there in the operating room, you see how a donation affects our patients that go through surgery who need not only major organs, but allografts like bone, muscles and nerves,” Martinez said. “This recognition is such an honor. I believe the work they do is really important and I’m proud to be able to play a part in the process.”

On February 25, Alvarado and Martinez will be officially honored during TOSA’s 14th annual Thanks from the Heart ceremony, which will be held via zoom. For more information on becoming an organ donor, visit DonateLifeTexas.org.

About South Texas Health System 

South Texas Health System is a multi-facility health care system serving patients throughout the Rio Grande Valley. The system includes four acute care campuses with specialties in pediatrics, heart and vascular services, maternity and women’s health and trauma services. Treatment for behavioral health needs and addictive disorders is also provided through the system’s South Texas Health System Behavioral location. South Texas Health System is affiliated with the South Texas Clinical Partners ACO, Prominence Health Plan, and Cornerstone Regional Hospital. The system operates an advanced Level II Trauma Center at South Texas Health System McAllen, the first and only pediatric ER at South Texas Health System Children’s, a specialized cardiac ER at South Texas Health System Heart, and six freestanding emergency rooms located in and around Weslaco, Mission, Edinburg, McAllen and Alamo. For more information on the system, please visit www.southtexashealthsystem.com.

About Texas Organ Sharing Alliance

Texas Organ Sharing Alliance (TOSA), founded in 1975, is one of 57 federally-designated Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) in the United States. TOSA is committed to a mission of saving lives through the power of organ donation by providing organ donation and recovery services to Central and South Texans wishing to donate, and to those waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.

Physicians are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of South Texas Health System. The hospital shall not be liable for actions or treatments provided by physicians.