July 23, 2014

Mission Respiratory Therapist Recognized as a Lifesaver

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contributed by Susan Anderson

Local Respiratory Care Practitioner Saves Countless Lives

Sharon McRee RRT RCP, Mission Hospital Respiratory Care Practitioner, was recently recognized by the North Carolina Society of Respiratory Care for her outstanding contribution in the area of lung procurement. Ms. McRee was awarded Respiratory Care Practitioner of the Year in September 2012.

Change in Protocol Leads to Huge Results

Sharon ‘s passion about the importance of organ donation led her to partnerwith LifeShare of the Carolina’s in 2007. At that time she developed a standardized donor ventilator management protocol for use at Mission Hospital. Prior to that time,  Mission averaged 1-2 lung donors per year. Since implementation of the protocol in 2007 the number of donations has increased to 12 per year. These lifesaving results did not go unnoticed; in 2008 LifeShare of the Carolinas adopted the protocol, working closely with Sharon to slightly modify it for use in their 40 hospitals. This lung procurement protocol dramatically increased the percentages of recoverable lungs and has forever changed the landscape of lung donation and transplant in North Carolina and nationally.

LifeShare of the Carolina’s is a not-for-profit organ procurement organization that serves a 22 county area in southwest North Carolina. The organization is based in Charlotte, and has a satellite office in Asheville. LifeShare of the Carolina’s is a member of the Federal Organ Procurement and Transplant Network.

Prior to the development of the Donor Ventilator Management Protocol, only 4% of LifeShare donors were able to provide the gift of breath through lung donation. Since implementation of the protocol, LifeShare has seen a significant increase that has been sustained at 29%. This recovery rate exceeds the national average of 18%. As of October 1, 2012, Mission Hospital has recovered lungs for transplant from 31% of donors.

Sharon’s protocol has not only changed LifeShare but has been adopted as a National Best Practice, and is now considered as a standard of care for organ donors. Ms. McRee has been recognized and awarded by HRSA, AOPO, and NATCO (donor procurement agencies).

As stated by Cynthia Willis, Manager of Organ Recovery for LifeShare of the Carolina’s, “Not many people can say they truly changed the world, but Sharon McRee has done that through her daily work and care!” Sharon continues to greatly impact organ donation through her significant contributions while continuing her work as a Respiratory Therapist at Mission Hospital. She also continues her partnership with Life Share of the Carolina’s. Sharon McRee RRT RCP, has indeed made a significant impact, and will continue to save many lives through her dedication and contribution.”

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