Laboratory professionals’ critical role in organ and tissue donation
During Medical Laboratory Professionals Week April 24-30, 2022, we celebrate the dedication of medical laboratory personnel and the importance of their work.
Here at Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network, our own laboratory staff have an essential role in successful organ and tissue donation and transplantation to save and enhance lives. Of the 12 labs based in organ procurement organizations (OPOs) across the country, the Gift of Hope laboratory is one of only two facilities that are considered full-service because they provide organ biopsies among more common tests.
Our Gift of Hope lab staff serve 10 transplant centers serving 40 transplant programs in Illinois and northwest Indiana 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, under the leadership of Sam Ho, Ph.D., Director of Histocompatibility. Now in its 34th year, the lab processes 220,000 specimens annually and in 2021 supported the transplantation of 1,352 organs donated through Gift of Hope and its work to carry out the wishes of those who say yes to organ donation.
Thorough and accurate testing is a key part of the process for matching donated organs, eyes and tissue to people who need them. Laboratory analysis is used to screen donors for infectious diseases or other factors that would prevent donation, to ensure safe transplantation for recipients. Blood typing, tissue typing and tissue compatibility tests are performed to identify transplant candidates. HLA antibody testing helps to optimize successful transplants and prevent those likely to be rejected. Many more factors are routinely measured at the Gift of Hope lab to confirm the viability of a donated organ and to match it with someone waiting for a life-saving transplant.
Laboratory technicians, technologists, scientists and other staff deserve recognition for the work they do to facilitate successful organ, eye and tissue donations. If you know a medical lab employee, thank them for their dedication. To learn more about the life-saving donation and transplant process, visit giftofhope.org.