Partnership with EMS agencies could increase tissue donation in Indiana

Partnership with EMS agencies could increase tissue donation in Indiana

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — A new partnership hopes to increase the number of people in Indiana who can donate tissue after they die.

The partnership is between Carmel Fire Department and Indiana Donor Network. The changes that this partnership brings could impact thousands of people a year.

Organs cannot be donated from people who die outside of a hospital.

“Historically in Indiana, those people who may die out of the hospital would never have the chance to become a tissue donor,” said Logan Miller with Indiana Donor Network.

By law, not everyone has to report when someone dies to the donor network. “In Indiana, the only people who are required to make a referral are hospitals. So if you pass away at a nursing home, if you pass away on hospice, if you pass away anywhere outside of a hospital, referrals are not made,” Miller said.

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He says there are certain county coroner’s offices that will call when they have a viable donor.

Carmel Fire Department knows the impact that a donation can have on a person’s life.

“One of the team members that help put this program in place has been a recipient of a ligament,” said Carmel Firefighter Tim Griffin.

The department is hoping to be a catalyst in getting more agencies on board with this program, which allows them to contact Indiana Donor Network after a person has died if the criteria for a donation are met.

Miller said, “No organs can be transplanted; however, tissue donation, like skin for burn victims or heart valves for children with congenital heart defects, those tissues can be recovered and transplanted anytime within 24 hours of death.”

Griffin said, “We ran on just last year alone on 70 possible cases that we could have used in this program,” said Griffin.

Miller said, “One tissue donor can help up to 75 people.”

With this program in place, nothing changes in terms of lifesaving measures that are taken on the scene.

The firefighter said, “When we go out the doors our goal is always to save every patient that we have and we are going to see that through. Nothing changes. We give the best possible care that we can give every patient.”

Indiana Donor Network says it is working on partnerships similar to the one in Carmel in other areas across the state including Johnson County.