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LifeNet Health Announces a Record Year of Saving Lives and Restoring Health

Virginia Hospitals Help Set Unprecedented Numbers

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., Feb. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- According to year-end statistics, LifeNet Health was able to save the lives of 406 people and distribute 300,348 allograft bio-implants to patients in 2008.

LifeNet Health saw a 13% increase from 2007 to 2008 in the number of bio-implants supplied to hospitals and physicians. LifeNet Health provided 300,348 allograft bio-implants to hospitals in 2008. These bio-implants included heart valves, bone implants, ligaments and tendons. The gift of bone and connective tissues helps individuals with various orthopedic and neurosurgical conditions. These tissues are used in back, joint, and leg surgeries such as hip replacement, knee reconstruction, and spinal fusion. Donated heart valves are used to replace damaged ones and can mean the difference between life and death to the recipients, including many children. The gift of skin is used as an aid in the healing process for severe burn victims. Tissue transplants provide restored mobility and an enhanced life.

Through the work of LifeNet Health, an additional 103 lives were saved in 2008 compared to 2007. LifeNet Health coordinates with approximately 80 hospitals, including five organ transplant centers in its service area, to facilitate the donation process in Virginia. This goal of saving 406 lives could not have been achieved without the dedication of four of Virginia's top donor hospitals: Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, and the University of Virginia Medical Center. These four hospitals saw a total of 72 organ donors. Hospital development efforts by LifeNet Health established efficient and effective systems to ensure that donors were referred from the hospitals and evaluated in a timely manner. These efforts resulted in 23,077 referrals into LifeNet Health's donor call center.

"The transplant changed my life," stated Virginia Beach resident Joe Leake, one of the 406 people who received a transplant in 2008. He received a liver transplant on March 11th at VCU Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia. "In February my fiance got called to active duty in Iraq so I needed to stay home with our son. As a Merchant Mariner I was able to do that," said Leake. He was discharged from his vessel on March 3rd and was at home when he started having flu-like symptoms. He finally called 911 after a few days and the next thing he remembered was waking up in Richmond with a new liver. He almost died while waiting for a life-saving liver transplant. His doctors told him that they had never seen anyone progress with acute liver failure that fast and then recover so quickly. Leake now volunteers with LifeNet Health educating others about signing up to be a donor. In October, LifeNet Health introduced Leake to the mother of his donor. "I will cherish this gift because it saved my life. I am so fortunate to be here," said Leake.

"We are proud to serve the local communities, help save lives and provide bio-implants to patients around the world. Our goal is to help more people with our services every year," said Rony Thomas, LifeNet Health CEO and President.

There is a critical shortage of donors. Right now, more than 100,000 Americans are on the national waiting list for a life-saving organ transplant, including 2,500 Virginians. On average, three Virginians die each week waiting for a life-saving organ transplant that doesn't come in time. Virginians can sign up as organ and tissue donors at or at a DMV office.

Thomas adds, "Each donor has the potential to save seven lives through organ donation and enhance the lives of more than 50 people through tissue donation. Together, we can help thousands of people who are waiting for an organ transplant or a life-enhancing tissue transplant."

LifeNet Health, a non-profit global leader in regenerative medicine, is the world's largest provider of bio-implants and organs for transplantation whose mission is saving lives and restoring health by advancing the field of tissue engineering.

For more information about LifeNet Health visit

SOURCE LifeNet Health
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