This Thing Called Life
This Thing Called Life: Community Heroes- Por que hablar de la donación- EP 36

This Thing Called Life: Community Heroes- Por que hablar de la donación- EP 36

August 3, 2022

Community Heroes is a special extension of This Thing Called Life’s podcast. In this series we talk to community leaders, share important information about organ and tissue donation and honor those who have been instrumental in saving lives through the gift of donation.

 

Resources:

Episode 52:  The Role Of The Family Service Coordinator At Life Center, With Jen Malof (Third Installment Of The Donation Process From The OPO Lens Series)

Episode 52: The Role Of The Family Service Coordinator At Life Center, With Jen Malof (Third Installment Of The Donation Process From The OPO Lens Series)

July 27, 2022

During this episode of This Thing Called Life, host Andi Johnson continues the series on the full donation process from beginning to end; If you have missed the previous episodes in this series, you are encouraged to go back and listen to get the full picture. Today Andi speaks with Jen Malof, who is a Family Services Coordinator.  Tune in.

Episode Highlights: 

  • Andi reviews the speakers in this series and the collaborative process of the organ donation process. 
  • Jen Malof has been with Life Center for just over a year. Andi explains how the Family Services Coordinators are the third critical piece in the donation cycle.
  • What does a Family Services Coordinator do to facilitate donation?
  • Andi asks Jen what led her into this field. 
  • Jen was looking to do something that felt larger than myself and helped other people, and working on a team.
  • What is the training and background needed for someone who is a Family Services Coordinator?
  • Jen shares about the variety of backgrounds that make up the current team they have.
  • Jen explains how they set realistic expectations in the interview process and also shares that it is a very supportive culture.
  • Family Service Coordinators are on call a certain number of times. Jen explains how it works.
  • Andi and Jen discuss the unique dynamic of the role of Family Service Coordinator.
  • It all begins with the family. You are a nurturer as a Family Service Coordinator. Jen explains the importance of the team members noting and setting up the next one who will carry on with the family in a successful way.
  • Andi asks Jen what she considers to be the most challenging part of her role.
  • There are office responsibilities, trainings, and on call for the position.
  • Donation actually brings meaning and something positive to the donor families; In a way it brings some peace, comfort, and benefit to them. Jen explains how they see and experience that from the up close relationship with the families.
  • There is extreme caution and care with analyzing the health of a potential gift and  never move forward unless it is healthy enough for recovery. In rare cases, a dcotor can be in surgery and realize the organ is not viable. Jen explains the heartbreak and challenge that is.
  • Organ donors all have after care no matter what the circumstance.
  • Andi asks Jen what is most rewarding about her job and Jen says she doesn’t have enough time to share all of the ways.
  • What is the honor walk in honor of the donor?
  • There are other memory making support services; Jen shares about them.
  • What is the skill set of a Family Service Coordinator? There is a lot of information to communicate in real time and a lot of non-verbal skills as well.
  • Families have to receive a lot of stats and information and there is a lot of paperwork and recording that has to take place also.
  • Jen shares that she is a long time breast cancer survivor and how her life experiences help her relate to the families she works with. 
  • For more information, check out https://aopo.org/

 

3 Key Points:

  1. The organ donation process begins with a person who designated themselves to be a donor or their family who made the decision for that individual to be a donor.This life saving and life-changing gift all begins with that and is a collaborative process from start to finish.
  2. Family Service Coordinators fulfill the role of being the main point of contact for that family whose loved one has either chosen to be a donor or if that family makes that decision to move ahead with donation: to support them , to educate them, to answer their questions, adn to be with them throughout the entire process.
  3. Donation actually brings meaning and something positive to the donor families; In a way it brings some peace, comfort, and benefit to them. Jen explains how they see and experience that from the up close relationship with the families.

Resources Mentioned:

This Thing Called Life: Community Heroes- Improving Health And Creating Awareness Of The Need For Living Kidney Donors In The Community, With Lincoln Ware- EP 35

This Thing Called Life: Community Heroes- Improving Health And Creating Awareness Of The Need For Living Kidney Donors In The Community, With Lincoln Ware- EP 35

July 19, 2022

Community Heroes is a special extension of This Thing Called Life’s podcast. In this series we talk to community leaders, share important information about organ and tissue donation and honor those who have been instrumental in saving lives through the gift of donation.  In this episode we talk about the renewal symbolized by the month of June, Pride month and Mens health month.

Resources:

https://lifepassiton.org/

https://www.facebook.com/LifeCenterOH

Life Center Phone # 513-558-5555

This Thing Called Life-Community Heroes: junio, el mes de Orgullo y de la salud de hombres- EP 34

This Thing Called Life-Community Heroes: junio, el mes de Orgullo y de la salud de hombres- EP 34

July 12, 2022

This episode of TTCL Community Heros will feature an interview with Julie Luebbers on La Mega.  The monthly interview will provide the Spanish Community with information about Life Center and the incredible miracles that happen with Organ, Eye, and Tissue Donation.

Episode 51:The Donation Process From The Organ Procurement Organization Lens, With Christenne Wilson

Episode 51:The Donation Process From The Organ Procurement Organization Lens, With Christenne Wilson

July 5, 2022

During this episode of This Thing Called Life, host Andi Johnson continues the series on the donation process from the OPO (Organ Procurement Organization) lens. In the last episode we heard from Erica Randall of Donation Support Services. This week, Andi is speaking with Christenne Wilson, a long time staff member at Life Center; She is the Senior Donation Coordinator. She meets family in very difficult times. Tune in to hear about her experiences as it relates to the important process of organ donation. 

Episode Highlights: 

  • Many people believe that organ, eye, and tissue donation is just a service of the hospital but Andi shares how it is much bigger than that and requires the collaboration of many.
  • Christenne has been with the Life Center for over 20 years and is currently the Senior Donation Coordinator. She explains her role as one of the individuals who handles the evaluation, medical management, organ placement, and logistics of the operating room for an organ donation.
  • Andi asks Christenne to share what kind of training and background is required to do work like she does.
  • Christenne shares her personal experience with organ donation about her sister who had epilepsy and cerebral palsy.
  • What does brain dead mean? Christenne shares facts that listeners may not be aware of. She explains the difference between that and vegetative state or coma.
  • Organ donation and the education around it has grown significantly over the years. 
  • Christenne explains her connection to the Life Center and how meaningful it has been to her on several levels.
  • Christenne put herself to paraemedic school and applied as an organ coordinator.
  • Andi asks Christenne how she prepares for her day and meeting with families in desperate times. 
  • What happens at the bedside to evaluate potential organ donation?
  • Christenne shares that some cases have changed her forever and how it has been a blessing.
  •  What goes into supporting the families who are in contact with ?
  • Andi talks about how COVID caused many people to reflect and seek more meaningful jobs.
  • Andi asks Christenne to share what a typical work day looks like for a donation coordinator. 
  • Logistics and time frames are very important in the process; Christenne explains.
  • A lot of communication is required for this job because of the many pieces that must come together.
  • An average case lasts about 72 hours so that the right thing is accomplished with the donor.
  • Christenne talks about when organ gifts are placed in other locations.
  • The donation coordinators are very passionate about giving each individual the best preservation options.
  • Have you thought about registering to be a donor? Find out more at https://lifepassiton.org/

3 Key Points

  1. Christenne shares her personal experience with organ donation when her sister passed away and saved several other lives.
  2. Organ donation happens through the collaboration of many. Andi and Christenne talk through the organ coordinator role and the piece it is in the overall process.
  3. Emotional taxation is high in the role that Christenne has. She talks about the challenges, blessings, and how she perseveres through. 

Resources Mentioned:

This Thing Called Life-Community Heroes: Are There Organ Dontation Restrictions For the LGBGTQUI Community?- EP 33

This Thing Called Life-Community Heroes: Are There Organ Dontation Restrictions For the LGBGTQUI Community?- EP 33

June 28, 2022
Community Heroes is a special extension of This Thing Called Life’s podcast. In this series we talk to community leaders, share important information about organ and tissue donation and honor those who have been instrumental in saving lives through the gift of donation.
 
 
Resources:
513-558-5555
Episode 50: I Donated A Portion Of My Liver, And It Grew Back? with Courtney Schapier

Episode 50: I Donated A Portion Of My Liver, And It Grew Back? with Courtney Schapier

June 21, 2022

During this episode of This Thing Called Life, host Andi Johnson speaks with Courtney Schapier, a liver donor, the sister of a liver recipient, and one of the Organ Donation Coordinators at LifeCenter. Upon learning about her brother’s need for a liver, Courtney made the incredibly brave decision to make a difference. Her story is simply amazing!

 

Episode Highlights: 

 

  • Courtney has been an Organ Donation Coordinator at LifeCenter for the past 6-7 years.
  • Donation Coordinators handle the medical management and evaluation for organ donors.
  • Amongst other responsibilities, Courtney plays a large part in matching organs to donors.
  • Sometimes, organ donation acts as the silver lining to families that are going through an incredibly hard time.
  • Donation coordination is a 24-hour job because donation does not run on a 9-5 schedule.
  • From the time that a case opens to the time it closes, Courtney is on the clock for 36 hours.
  • Courtney uses CrossFit and a great support system as outlets for the high stress levels of this job.
  • With such a high-stress job, it’s no surprise that there is a high level of turnover.
  • There have been times where the stress of the job has made Courtney question her desire to be here.
  • COVID brought everything to a screeching halt when it first exploded back in March.
  • The sheer amount of unknown information has made the ongoing global pandemic that much scarier.
  • Things have finally begun to get back to normal, meaning more lives are being saved via organ donation.
  • In 2016, Courtney’s brother discovered a huge mass on his liver that required a transplant.
  • Unfortunately, Courtney lost her father when she was only 2 months old, so her brother acted as a father to her.
  • Courtney was informed that she was a donor match for her brother while supporting a family that was pulling life-support.
  • The weight of the situation started to feel heavy when Courtney sat on the pre-op table.
  • Sitting outside the OR doors on the pre-op table, Courtney was rolled back for surgery after only 20 or 30 minutes.
  • There were a handful of signs that something was wrong with Courtney’s brother’s liver long before the doctors caught it.
  • After everything was said and done, it took a 10-hour procedure for Courtney to donate over half of her liver.
  • The first thing that Courtney can remember is getting sick immediately after surgery.
  • Courtney finally got to see her brother when she was transferred to the ICU.
  • It was a complete shift in lifestyle for Courtney from the moment that she found out she was a donor match for her brother.
  • Finding living liver donors is more rare than finding living kidney donors.
  • Both Courtney and her brother fully recovered and are as healthy as they can be today.
  • TX Jet was kind enough to donate its services to fly Courtney and her family out for surgery.
  • After her donation, Courtney was sure that she was at the right job at LifeCenter.
  • Courtney was comforted by the knowledge that everything in her life made her the perfect donor for her brother.
  • This year, Courtney is focusing on being more present when she is with loved ones.
  • The amazing thing about donation and transplantation is the opportunity to potentially save a life.

 

3 Key Points:

  1. Organ Donation Coordinators manage everything from the moment a donor decides to donate, to the time that the organ is sent to its recipient.
  2. It takes a very special person to not only manage the responsibilities of being a Donation Coordinator, but also the rollercoaster of emotions that come with the job.
  3. Courtney donated just over 50% of her own liver, which was oversized, to begin with, to save her brother’s life.

 

 

Resources Mentioned:

Episode 49: Understanding the Organ, Eye, And Tissue Donation Process,  A Series of TTCL Podcast with Erica Randall

Episode 49: Understanding the Organ, Eye, And Tissue Donation Process, A Series of TTCL Podcast with Erica Randall

June 14, 2022

During this episode of This Thing Called Life podcast, host Andi Johnson kicks off a series about how the donation process works from the perspective of the Organ Procurement organization, which is what Life Center is. Andis guest today is a staff member of Life Center, Erica Randall. Have you ever wondered how the gifts of organ, eye, and tissue donations come to be? Tune in for the intricacies of this life-saving and life-healing process.

 

Episode Highlights: 

  • The LifeCenter of Cincinnati, Ohio is 1 of 47 Organ Procurement Organizations that are under the umbrella of AOPO:The Association of Organ Procurement OrganizationsThere are about 56 in total. 
  • The donation process is collaborative; Andi shares about the organizations that are involved and how they are interconnected.
  • Today’s guest, Erica Randall, shares her role in donation support services, or DSS.
  • What exactly is DSS and what do they do? 
  • Erica explains guidelines and how they reach out to families. 
  • What does it take to work in the DSS?
  • Andi asks Erica to share what motivates her to go into the DSS everyday and do her work especially when she is meeting with families in tough circumstances who have often unexpectedly lost a loved one.
  • There is a misconception that to be a donor, you have to be in perfect health. That is not the case. Andi asks Erica to explain.
  • Erica’s mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer and asked if she could still be a donor. In her case, she was and she was able to give the gift of restoring eyesight for two people when she passed. Erica shares how it changed the perspective for her family.
  • Andi asks Erica to share with honesty what she finds most challenging about her role.
  • There is a major ripple effect in the donation process for all of the families. 
  • The DSS is open 24/7, 365 days a year. Erica explains the shifts and needs.
  • In 2006, Erica’s cousin was killed in a car accident by a drunk driver. He became an organ and tissue donor. That is the first time she had ever heard of organ and tissue donation and the first time she had an experience with LifeCenter. 
  • In nursing school, for her senior capstone project, she chose to work with Life Center and sent up a table at the Batavia, Ohio BMV where they were educating people about donation. She knew she wanted to work for LifeCenter at that time.
  • Andi shares about how Erica’s cousin’s family has done so much in the community to fuel the education efforts that LifeCenter does.
  • Interested in positions at LifeCenter? Visit https://lifepassiton.org/who-we-are/careers/
  • Erica speaks from experience and explains how it is so rewarding to work for LifeCenter and be a part of the positive difference.
  • Andi talks about the after-care department that follows families for 18 months after the death of a loved one. In a coming episode, there will be more information about it and someone from that department as well as the in-between pieces with coordinators.
  • There are 106,065 people who are waiting for life-saving organ transplants and about 90,000 of those people need kidney transplants. Your decision to be a donor matters. For more information visit https://lifepassiton.org

 

3 Key Points:

  1. The Donation Support Services (DSS) are at the core of organizing organ, eye, and tissue donation through the stages. They give their all to the families providing comfort and remaining professional while collaborating with hospitals, coroners, etc.
  2. Erica shares what motivates her to work in the DSS and the impact that the work has.
  3. Andi and Erica discuss the opportunity in donation and how it provides healing and hope for so many involved on all sides.
     

Resources Mentioned:

Episode 48: What We Need To Know About Liver Transplants, With Dr. Shimul Shah

Episode 48: What We Need To Know About Liver Transplants, With Dr. Shimul Shah

June 7, 2022

During this episode of This Thing Called Life podcast,  we are re-airing an incredible interview with Dr Shimul Shah, the head of the Liver Transplant Program at UC Health. Dr. Shah and his team are utilizing ever-evolving medical technologies to help all those facing the liver-transplant process. He knows that it is vitally important to try to understand what the patient is going through so that they can best be served with their health problems. Tune in.

Episode Highlights: 

  • Dr. Shah runs one of the largest liver transplant programs in the country to help as many people as possible.
  • In his 9th year with UC Health, Dr. Shah and his team have done over 750 liver transplants.
  • COVID has presented some challenges in the world of liver transplantations because of its immunosuppressed patients.
  • There are a number of things that must be considered with the introduction of a global pandemic before conducting transplants.
  • Though they didn’t understand what was happening around the world, Dr. Shah’s team went ahead with multiple transplants.
  • Many healthcare professionals had to come together when making protocols for transplantations during COVID.
  • There has been a lot of success with telehealth and that proved useful for the Liver Transplant Team.
  • After protocols were put in place, liver transplants were resumed at the same rate as before.
  • Programs all over the country were forced to shut their doors for a small period of time while they figured out how to get ahead of COVID.
  • There are more donors in the Midwest and South than there are on the East Coast and West Coast.
  • A national policy of “sickest first” has allowed organs to be shared throughout a wider geographical region.
  • Clinical trials are underway for pumps that pump the livers continuously during travel.
  • The pump presents an opportunity to repair the damage that has been done to organs before transplants are conducted.
  • Because of technology, more organs are being used today that would have never been used 5-10 years ago.
  • Dr. Shah uses complete transparency when he gives his patients past results of treatment options.
  • Patients can donate their livers at much older ages because liver cells constantly repair themselves.
  • Dr. Shah originally wanted to be a liver and pancreas cancer expert, but a fellowship in liver transplant shifted his path if only slightly.
  • Patients know when the care that a doctor shows is authentic and that they are all in on the process.
  • It’s important to talk to patients as people and try to understand what they are going through.
  • Dr. Shah helped lead the Living Liver Donor Program that launched earlier this year.
  • New patients find out how sick they actually are and what all their options are before moving forward.
  • Dr. Shah and his team do everything they can to help people get better without a transplant.
  • During his free time, Dr. Shah enjoys playing tennis, basketball, and taking afternoon naps.
  • COVID has made Dr. Shah’s family’s favorite activities, eating out and traveling, a little tricky.

 

3 Key Points:

  1. People with compromised immune systems are more susceptible to COVID-19, thus bringing a learning curve to those in the liver transplant field.
  2. Transplant systems all over the country were forced to shut down their programs when COVID first hit, but have since been able to resume transplants after implementing protocols.
  3. Patients with an extensive medical history have benefited greatly from advancements in technology due to the larger amount of organs that are now available.

Resources Mentioned:

This Thing Called Life- Community Heroes: June’s Truth About Donation Is That All Major Relgions Endorse Eye, Tissue And Organ Donation.

This Thing Called Life- Community Heroes: June’s Truth About Donation Is That All Major Relgions Endorse Eye, Tissue And Organ Donation.

May 31, 2022

Community Heroes is a special extension of This Thing Called Life’s podcast. In this series we talk to community leaders, share important information about organ and tissue donation and honor those who have been instrumental in saving lives through the gift of donation.  In this episode we talk about the renewal symbolized by the month of June, pride month, and men's health month.

 

Resources:

https://lifepassiton.org/

https://www.facebook.com/LifeCenterOH

Life Center Phone # 513-558-5555

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