Central Kansas Medical Center has a long history of collaborating with Heartland Lions Eye Banks to secure sight-saving corneal-tissue donations. And this relationship will continue after CKMC’s name changes to St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center on May 1.
"CKMC has been incredibly supportive of eye donation since our relationship began," said Sylvia Reinhardt, R.N., HLEB hospital services coordinator. "Staff members are compassionate toward donor families and well-educated on the steps needed to facilitate the eye-donation process.
"They work closely with our donor services center and retrieval staff to make sure the donor’s wishes are honored," Reinhardt added. "By facilitating the process, CKMC allows the eye banks to connect patients and their surgeons to donations. The nursing staff initiates the process, helping us secure the family’s consent and ensuring efficiency for everyone involved at every step along the way."
Reinhardt noted that she has reassured CKMC that HLEB can provide cornea retrieval and support services that meet a surgery center’s unique situation.
Thanks to CKMC, she added, two eye donors provided sight to three transplant recipients in 2010. THE HLEB helped restore vision for 2,921 individuals last year; 299 of those were Kansas residents.
Since March is National Eye Donor Month, Reinhardt is using the opportunity to share information with CKMC and the community about donation.
"A decision to donate does not affect the quality of your medical care," Reinhardt said, noting donors can change their minds any time. "In most cases, cancer and diabetes will not prevent you from being an eye donor."
In addition, almost all religions support donations, and the family can still have an open casket at the donor’s funeral. There are no costs to the family and even a person with poor eyesight can likely be a donor. About 46,000 Americans need a cornea transplant each year.
Reinhardt also indicated that donor registry is simple and she encourages anyone interested to visit the HLEB at www.hleb.org.