Earlier this year, MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center implemented “Honor Walks” to pay tribute to the lives of patients that have chosen to be organ donors. Honor Walks provide donor families the opportunity to honor their loved ones before organ procurement and provide a way for the multi-disciplinary team to show support and respect to the donors and their families.
Before an Honor Walk is held, donor families are asked if they would like to participate in the ceremony. Once consent is obtained, “Code Honor” is announced overhead as the multi-disciplinary team prepares a donor patient for procurement. Hospital staff is invited during this time to join and support the donor patient and family by lining the route from the patient’s room to the operating room. Staff then pause in silence to recognize the heroic decision donors and families make to help save lives.
“Honor Walks are a way of honoring the donor’s life, who they are and their decision to help save other lives by donating their organs and tissues,” says Reverend Joshua Yee, manager, Spiritual Care Department, MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center. “Being able to pause and recognize the gift of life through the individual and their loved ones is a powerful experience for so many of our hospital staff.”
According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, there are currently more than 112,700 adults and children in need of a lifesaving organ transplant. People of all ages and medical histories can become an organ donor at no cost by indicating their decision on a driver’s license, state donor registry or the National Donate Life Registry.
Donate Life America states that “8,000 deaths occur every year in the U.S. because organs are not donated on time.” When someone donates their organs, they can save up to eight lives. At Long Beach Medical Center, organ donation is valued for its significant role in giving thousands of adults and children a transformed life. Every time an organ donor passes away at Long Beach Medical Center, the hospital honors them by flying a Donate Life flag for eight days to symbolize the lives that may be saved. Additionally, Long Beach Medical Center will honor all organ and tissue donors with two Memorial Walls, one in the chapel and the other in the Meditation Room, both set to be unveiled later this year. Honor walks add to this honor and selflessness by the patient and their family.