In the story about the organ procurement task force that appears on page 14 of this magazine, Scott Mullen, the hospital services coordinator for LifeQuest Organ Recovery Services, shared, “If we can give a family one positive feeling to take away from a hospital when they have to leave without their loved one, it’s so worth it.”
He also said, “The family of the deceased comes first and foremost in everything we do.”
One of the ways our deceased organ donors are celebrated is with an Honor Walk.
When a patient is being wheeled to the OR for organ recovery, the hospital staff line the hallway and pay tribute to them and their family.
“We also have Honor Walks for military veterans where we drape their hospital bed with an American flag,” Mullen said.
The nurse who began this was Cindy Halfacre, B.S.N., R.N., UF Health Shands Cancer Hospital Surgical/Trauma ICU/IMC 4 West, who received a 2019 DAISY Award for her work on behalf of patients and families.
There was a young veteran involved in a fatal all-terrain vehicle accident. He was an established organ donor and his mother asked if the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs could be informed. Halfacre took it from there.
In a very short time, Halfacre had hospital staff and 14 uniformed military members lining the hallway. They performed a ceremonial flag folding and gave it to the Veteran’s family as part of the Honor Walk. UF Health Shands now partners with the UF Reserve Officer Training Corps, or ROTC, which has members present at every Honor Walk for a veteran.
In appreciation, Danielle Balbis, LifeQuest executive director, reached out to the Southeast commander of the ROTC program. He was so impressed, every university-based ROTC with an affiliated university hospital is now instructed to partner the same way for Honor Walks.
Mullen added, “The commander said this is a great lesson for these college students to learn — that brotherhood, that sisterhood, the comradery, it’s forever.”