Flag at Half-Mast Recognizes Organ Donors

Jennifer and Tom O’Brien
January, 2009

The following article and this photo appeared in “INSIDE”, the employee news letter published by St. John’s Mercy Medical Center which is located in St. Louis, Missouri.

Choosing to donate organs is a selfless act of generosity that passes on the gift of life. The Medical Center will honor those patients who choose to donate organs by lowering the Donate Life Flag to half-mast for 24 hours after every organ donation. The Healing Environment Organ Donor Memorial initiative helped create this recognition.

According to Sheryl Tretter, R.N., St. John’s Mercy Care Coordination Department, “the medical center has plans for additional ways to recognize organ donors and their families. Plans include lighting an electric candle in the chapel with a plaque describing why the candle is burning. The candle and plaque will be accompanied by a scroll listing those who donated organs during the previous year. With the permission of families, we will also create story boards to tell the story of those who donated the gift of life. They will be displayed on the critical care floor as a way to including our co-workers in the organ donation process.”

Tretter further explained, “St John’s Mercy is an organ donor hospital so the staff doesn’t get to see the recipient part of organ donation. Donor families are told at the time of donation about the lowering of the Organ Donor flag. The article in “INSIDE” introduced St John’s employees to this new recognition program.”

Jennifer O’Brien, wife of Tom O’Brien, Barnes-Jewish Hospital lung transplant recipient, submitted this article ideal. Jennifer is an R.N. and works on the pediatric floor at St. John’s Mercy. Thanks Jennifer!