April is National Donate Life Month and Keck Medical Center of USC is celebrating organ donors by flying a flag to alert the Keck Medicine of USC community that an important, life-saving gift was given.

“Organ transplants wouldn’t be possible without the selfless and courageous decision made by donors and their families to help others during a time of grief,” said Rod Hanners, chief operating officer of Keck Medicine of USC and chief executive officer of Keck Medical Center of USC. “We are proud to fly the Donate Life flag at Keck Medical Center to show our appreciation and gratitude to donors.”

Keck Medicine physicians specialize in a variety of transplantation procedures and are involved in all aspects of treatment, from the pre-evaluation to surgery and post-surgery phases of procedures. The USC Transplant Institute’s transplantation programs are part of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the central agency that coordinates the nation’s organ transplant system. The institute offers heart, kidney, liver, lung and pancreas transplant services.

“Each April, we celebrate the tremendous generosity of those who have saved lives by becoming donors and giving the gift of life to our transplant patients,” said Tamra Magee, MSN, RN, transplant administrator at the USC Transplant Institute. “Since the inception of the USC Transplant Institute in 1991, we have performed transplant procedures for more than 4,000 patients and counting. Keck Hospital is raising the Donate Life flag to recognize and honor our deceased and living donors and their families.”

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According to nonprofit organization Donate Life America, the Donate Life flags serve as a nationwide display of unity, remembrance and hope, while honoring those touched by donation and transplantation.

“We notify the donor families when the flag is going to be raised so they can see that they’ve done something good amid their loss — they’ve given the gift of life to a recipient,” explained Michael Munoz Romero, a clinical manager in the liver transplant program at the USC Transplant Institute.

Keck Medical Center will raise the flag in front of Keck Hospital of USC not just during the month of April, but each time an organ donation is made. The flag will fly for one week directly below the USC flag, administrators said. Keck Hospital of USC and the USC Transplant Institute also will provide a Donate Life flag to the family of deceased donors, courtesy of their donation partner OneLegacy.

By L. Alexis Young