State Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. introduces bill to pave way for organ recoveries at Gift of Life surgical center in Ann Arbor

Gift of Life Michigan logo

ANN ARBOR, MI — Gift of Life Michigan, the state’s organ and tissue recovery program, is pleased to announce that state Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. has introduced a bill that will permit Gift of Life to provide organ recoveries at a new surgical center on its Ann Arbor campus.

The bill would allow the state’s federally designated organ procurement organization – Gift of Life Michigan – to recover organs for transplant at its dedicated site. At present, those organ recoveries can be performed only at donor hospitals or at the Gift of Life-designated operating rooms at Straith Hospital in Southfield, where nearly 400 organ donations have occurred.

Having organ recoveries at a Gift of Life surgical center will increase the efficiency and number of donations and transplants statewide, free up operating room space at hospitals across Michigan and better serve donor families by shortening the process, on average.

“Often times, organ donors are placed as a lower priority on the surgery list and are frequently moved off the schedule for other surgeries,” Senator Hertel Jr. said. “This legislation will help fulfill the wishes of organ donors by allowing this facility to provide this service; therefore, making easier to provide the gift of life.”

Sen. Mike Shirkey co-sponsored the bill. He said: “Currently, there are 3,500 hopeful people in Michigan waiting for organ transplants. By designating Gift of Life as a facility approved to expediently recover organs, it will provide donors’ families with a place to heal and give the ‘gift of life’ to a recipient in need.”

Gift of Life is undergoing a $14 million, three-story expansion that will help it better fulfill its mission to save and improve lives through donation and transplantation. The centerpiece will be a surgical center, with four suites, that will be used to conduct organ and tissue recoveries.

“We appreciate the support of Sen. Hertel Jr. and Sen. Shirkey,” said Richard Pietroski, CEO of Gift of Life Michigan. “When it is complete, Michigan will have a state-of-the-art complex that can facilitate even more donations.”

Other features of the expansion will include a more than 200-seat learning center, a memorial to organ and tissue donors and a donor family center.

“I’m especially excited about the donor memorial and the space for our donor families,” Pietroski said. “These are the true heroes – the individuals and families who have turned death into a life-saving, life-improving gift for others. We will create an anchor for them, a sacred space where they can honor their loved ones. This will also serve as a reminder to us of the selflessness that makes our mission possible.”

Gift of Life was founded in 1971, making it the nation’s second oldest organ procurement organization, or OPO. It has always had its headquarters in Ann Arbor and been based at its current site since 2008

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EDITOR’S NOTES:

  • Anyone can join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry, regardless of age or health history. Go to GiftofLifeMichigan.org or call (866) 500-5801.
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