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MTN Family Services

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Family Services Coordinator John Michael Segars, PharmD

 

As we continue to highlight our talented teams, we look next at the compassionate individuals who support families through some of their most difficult moments. Our Family Services staff members work with families whose loved one has the potential to donate an organ(s). To learn more about this unique and powerful profession, we asked Family Services Coordinator II John Michael Segars, PharmD, to answer these questions.

Briefly describe what Family Services Coordinators (FSCs) do.

  • Family Services Coordinators are the wonderful people who support families on the worst days of their lives. We are there to provide compassion and kindness during a tragic loss to help families in moments of grief. We approach families during this difficult time of losing someone, and we offer them the opportunity to save and enhance lives through organ, eye and tissue donation. Many families see this as the only bit of light on the darkest of days when they realize their loved one can be a hero.

How long do Family Services Coordinators typically spend with a family throughout the donation process? What type(s) of support do they provide?

  • In general, we can spend several hours with a family, but this can vary; sometimes our relationships with families last days, weeks or years, depending on the connection and aftercare provided. I think of our role as listeners. We provide grief support in every way, whether that be hearing family members tell their story, hugging them as they cry, making calls to help them find a funeral home so we can provide a path to next steps, etc.

Why do specially trained individuals approach families about donation instead of the patient’s nurse, doctor, etc.?

  • We have a Midwest Transplant Network Family Services Coordinator approach families because we want to keep a distinction between the care being provided by the hospital staff and conversations about next steps occurring once a death has taken place or a decision for comfort care has been made. We don’t want to put our hospital partners in a position of having a conflict of interest in any way.

How might Family Services Coordinators support families who are on the fence about donation?

  • I personally like to make a connection with the family and learn about who their loved one was. Let’s say Larry was a police officer who was passionate about serving his community and died while on duty. His family isn’t sure about donation. I may ask questions about him and how he lived his life. I’d bring it back to what Larry would have wanted. I’d ask his family if he was the type of man that helped others. I may ask them if Larry knew they were making a loving decision on his behalf to help someone else, would he be supportive of that decision? I’d also discuss recipients and how donation doesn’t just benefit the life or lives saved — it also enhances the experiences of that person’s family members and friends, creating a ripple effect of positivity in communities.

What is the one thing you’d want to tell someone who knows nothing about your work?

  • I would say that I work in organ, eye and tissue donation with the most amazing team on Earth because they make miracles happen. I have always felt so honored to be a part of the process that is connected to the phone call a patient will receive that will save his or her life. We work hard to honor our donors as the heroes they are to save lives of individuals we will never meet.

What are some typical degrees and/or career paths staff members pursue before joining the Family Services department?

  • We have myriad backgrounds in our department. Most common are social work, nursing and ministry/divinity, but we have a wonderful foliage of differing backgrounds in the Family Services department, from pharmacy to business to funeral directing, etc.

Have Family Services Coordinators’ roles shifted during the pandemic? If so, how?

  • We have increased the number of phone approaches we do, as families are not always allowed at the hospital due to coronavirus-related visitor restrictions. We also are now approaching families on COVID-19-positive patients so we can make sure we are offering the opportunity to save a life to anyone with an eligible gift.

Why should people say “yes” to organ, eye and tissue donation?

  • This is a very personal decision that should be right for each individual. For me, it is all about leaving a legacy of helping someone else. To this day, I get chills on my arms when a family brings up donation before we arrive onsite because it tells me that on one of their worst days, they are thinking of how to help someone else. In my job, I truly get to witness the very best of people.

Anything else you’d like to add?

  • We’re hiring! We’d love to add eligible, compassionate people to our family! View our current job openings here.

2020: A Record-Breaking Year

Midwest Transplant Network’s lifesaving and life-enhancing work continued in 2020, despite the pandemic. We coordinated a record number of organ donations for an increase of 21% from our previous record (set in 2019), recovered tissues from nearly 2,000 donors and enabled nearly 900 organ transplants.

We are incredibly grateful for our donor heroes and their families, our community partners and our staff members for helping us give the gift of life to so many in need during a challenging year.

2020 EOY graphic

 

Thank you, healthcare and front-line heroes

2020 in Review

Despite the many challenges MTN and organizations globally faced, 2020 was a year of true heroism as we worked with our community partners to save and enhance lives through organ, eye and tissue donation. None of these incredible gifts would be possible without our generous donors and their families. Thank you to everyone who played a role in our 2020 successes!

Take a look back at our remarkable year:

 

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Employee Spotlight: Midge Dempsey

Check out our latest blog post and Employee Spotlight. This time we hear from Midge Dempsey, a Family Services Coordinator based in Wichita, as she talks about her role in the community, multicultural awareness, and her thoughts on organ, eye and tissue donation.

Get to know Midge:

 

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Midwest Transplant Network Receives Architectural Approval for Headquarters Expansion

With site plan approval for alterations and additions from the City of Westwood Planning Commission, Midwest Transplant Network (MTN) will soon begin construction document production for a new Donor Care Unit at its Westwood, Kansas, headquarters. Through this addition and remodel of MTN’s existing building, MTN and architecture firm Hoefer Wysocki will create an on-site recovery facility for organ, eye and tissue donors.

Currently, MTN clinicians collaborate with hospital healthcare teams to care for donors in hospitals located within MTN’s service area. The new centralized approach from MTN will allow for specialized donor care to help reduce the burden on hospital resources and enable more predictable timeframes for families and transplant teams.

“Creating this Donor Care Unit within Midwest Transplant Network is the right thing to do for the citizens of the Kansas City area and surrounding communities to improve organ donation,” said Dr. A. Michael Borkon, Co-Director of Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute and Surgical Director of Heart Transplant at Saint Luke’s Hospital; MTN Governing Board Chair. “It is a very timely construction, as constraints are being placed on our ability to maximize organ donation due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that ICU beds are in short supply.

“The Donor Care Unit will allow us to not only streamline the donation process, but also improve the number of organs that we can obtain from each donor because we can work through the time required to make the necessary changes to improve lung and heart function that ordinarily would not be prioritized in busy ICUs today.”

 

About Midwest Transplant Network
Midwest Transplant Network has been connecting lives through organ donation since 1973. As the federally designated not-for-profit organ procurement organization (OPO) for Kansas and the western two-thirds of Missouri, Midwest Transplant Network provides services including organ procurement; surgical tissue and eye recovery; laboratory testing; and 24-hour rapid response for referrals from hospital partners. Midwest Transplant Network ranks in the top 10% in the country among OPOs, which reflects the organization’s quality, professionalism and excellence in partnerships throughout the region. For more information, visit mwtn.org.

About Hoefer Wysocki
Founded in 1996, Hoefer Wysocki is a multidisciplinary architecture, interior design, medical equipment planning and clinical technology consultancy known for collaborating with clients to create performance-driven solutions. From offices in Kansas City and Dallas, the firm works with clients in healthcare, higher education, government and commercial markets on projects across the U.S. For more information, please visit hoeferwysocki.com.

 

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MTN President/CEO Jan Finn Becomes AOPO President-Elect

VIENNA, Va. (July 2, 2020) — The Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) has named Midwest Transplant Network (MTN) President/Chief Executive Officer Jan Finn, RN, MSN its President-Elect. This role includes significant responsibilities with AOPO — the nonprofit organization representing the 58 federally designated organ procurement organizations — including leading the strategic planning process, collaborating with AOPO councils, and advocating nationally for issues as they relate to donation and transplantation.

With this appointment, Finn will serve on AOPO’s Executive Committee for three years and will assume the role of President for 2021-2022. As AOPO President, Finn will be the organization’s spokesperson and Chairman of the Board of Directors and also will serve as a member of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) Board of Directors

“I am honored to represent MTN, those in our service area and the entire organ procurement organization (OPO) community,” said Finn. “AOPO is actively involved in advocacy for all donor families and recipients in ensuring each OPO strives for excellence in donation practice to ensure desperately needed organs for transplantation, and I am happy to lend my voice to such meaningful work.”

Throughout her time on AOPO’s Executive Committee, Finn said she hopes to foster collaboration between OPOs to provide a unified voice as the national industry expert

“My goal is to engage OPOs with known best practices to help those at other OPOs so we all can truly maximize the gift of life through organ, eye and tissue donation,” she said.

 

About Midwest Transplant Network
Midwest Transplant Network has been connecting lives through organ donation since 1973. As the federally designated not-for-profit organ procurement organization (OPO) for Kansas and the western two-thirds of Missouri, Midwest Transplant Network provides services including organ procurement; surgical tissue and eye recovery; laboratory testing; and 24-hour rapid response for referrals from hospital partners. Midwest Transplant Network ranks in the top 10% in the country among OPOs, which reflects the organization’s quality, professionalism and excellence in partnerships throughout the region. For more information, visit mwtn.org.

About the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations
The Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) leads the nation’s organ donation process through innovation, advocacy and education. AOPO advances organ donation and transplantation by driving continual improvement of the donation process, collaborating with stakeholders and sharing best practices with their organ procurement organization members. For more information, visit aopo.org.