Ascension Kansas hospitals take top honors at Midwest Transplant Network awards program

Ascension Via Christi St. Francis, which for a second-time led the region, and Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Manhattan were among 17 hospitals honored at Midwest Transplant Network's annual hospital awards program for Excellence in Organ and Tissue Donation.

Respiratory Therapy's Allan Thomas and Melanie Northcutt, who spearheaded the launch of St. Francis' Honor Walk program in 2018, also were recognized at the awards program as individual honorees. The walks honor donors and their loved ones as they proceed to the operating room for donation.

"We had a surprising number of organ donors given the COVID-19 pandemic," says long-time Ascension Via Christi nursing director Missy Hampel, RN, the hospital's liaison with Midwest Transplant. "Wichita is a very giving community."

Hampel, Thomas, Northcutt and Mary Meadows, RN, nursing leader for the Coronary Intensive Care Unit, which had the most donations, represented Ascension Via Christi St. Francis at the event. Representing Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Manhattan were Liz Yunghans, RN, ICU manager, and Megan George, RN, ICU nurse.

Hampel says other contributing factors include the excellent communication between the hospital and Midwest Transplant Network, an engaged team of nurses and medical staff and the Honor Walks, which have helped raise awareness of how organ donation benefits the families of donors as well as the recipients.

Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg also was recognized at the event for Excellence in Tissue Donation.