Sault Area Hospital Receives Trillium Gift of Life Award

Sue Roger, Senior Director for Clinical Programs at Sault Area Hospital and Director for ICU, and Trillium Gift of Life Network Hospital Coordinator Michelle Snyder hold the Provincial Conversion Rate Award. This is the second consecutive year the SAH has received this award. Photo by Megan Pounder/SaultOnline

Sault Area Hospital has been recognized by Trillium Gift of Life Network, Ontario’s organ and tissue donation and transplantation agency, for its “outstanding efforts to integrate organ and tissue donation into quality end-of-life care” for the second year in a row.

The hospital was presented with the Provincial Conversion Rate Award on Wednesday afternoon. This award was received by hospitals across the province who have met or exceeded the target of a 58 percent conversion rate set by TGLN. SAH is one of 24 hospitals and partners to receive the 2017/18 award, with a 63 per cent conversion rate.

“The provincial conversion rate is a difficult statistic sometimes to understand, but it really means that Sault Area Hospital’s ICU and emergency department were able to identify those patients who could be potential donors, notified Trillium, and then we were actually able to convert those patients into actual donors and save five lives,” Trillium Gift of Life Network Hospital Coordinator Michelle Snyder explained to SaultOnline.

Sue Roger, Senior Director for Clinical Programs at Sault Area Hospital and Director for ICU, accepted this award on behalf of the VP of clinical, who manages all patient services.

Roger said receiving this award “shows recognition to the hard work that we’ve done in the organization and in the community that we serve.”

“It’s work that we do every day with our patients and families, and with Trillium Gift of Life, and we’re very very fortunate,” she said. “It is honourable work. It is certainly some of the best work that we can do, and it grants a patients last wish in some instances, to be an organ donor.”

In 2017/18, SAH had eight tissue donors, who benefit up to 75 patients each, and three organ donors, who can save up to eight lives each.

Roger said that organs donated by locals don’t necessarily stay in the Sault. Rather, there’s a provincial data bank that determines where they go based on location of the people on the top of the waitlist. Currently, that waitlist has 1500 people on it. Statistically, every three days someone on that waitlist dies while waiting for a lifesaving organ.

“Even though that may not benefit someone directly here, we at least move up the waiting list for that organ and to be a recipient in that way,” she said.

“I’m so grateful to do this work, on behalf of the organization and in this community, and my congratulations really to everyone and my thanks to all of our donor families.”

Snyder said giving this award to SAH feels great, knowing how many lives they’ve impacted in the last year through organ and tissue donations.

“Organ donation is a very rare event – it happens in probably less than 2-3 per cent of all hospital deaths, people actually become organ donors. And you’re more likely to need an organ in your lifetime, then you ever will be to actually be an organ donor.”

She urges people to become organ donors.

“Registration is really important, talking to your family about what your wish is and letting them know is very important, because the more people who have registered, the more chances we have to helping all those people on the waitlist and saving lives,” she said.

Anyone wishing to register can do so either online at or through Service Ontario when renewing a drivers license or health card or by filling out a Gift of Life consent form and mailing it to Service Ontario.

For more information on TGLN, click here.