Comer Children’s intensive care unit, physician named 'Lifesaving Partners' for support of organ and tissue donation

Travis Matics with award from Gift of Hope

The Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network is recognizing the pediatric intensive care unit at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital along with one of its physicians for outstanding achievement in addressing the critical need for organ and tissue donation.

Named 2017 Lifesaving Partners by Gift of Hope, Comer Children’s PICU and Travis Matics, DO, a fellow in the pediatric intensive care, are among 14 hospitals, organizations and forensic and civic professionals recognized for their work to help Gift of Hope carry out its mission of saving and enhancing lives through organ and tissue donation. Gift of Hope, which facilitates organ donation, presented the awards on October 13. The recognition is given annually to individuals and organizations that go above and beyond the call of duty to support the organization’s mission and produce successful donation outcomes.

The Comer Children’s PICU staff regularly works with Gift of Hope to support organ and tissue donation. This commitment has led to the successful transplantation of 28 organs since January. The PICU team comprises physicians, nurses, social workers, child life specialists, respiratory therapists, chaplains and ancillary staff.

“A true example of outstanding service, this group of professionals has worked openly and collaboratively with Gift of Hope for many years,” said Kevin Cmunt, President/CEO of Gift of Hope. “Their compassionate care and teamwork is well-deserving of this award.”

According to Gift of Hope representatives, Matics was instrumental in producing successful donation outcomes for transplantation cases this year, which increased by five cases compared to the same time period last year. Pediatric donation cases are highly sensitive and difficult for everyone involved, but Matics facilitated timely donor referrals called in to Gift of Hope to help ensure that families could consider donation.

“Matics truly understands the difference organ and tissue donation can make in the lives of others and the glimmer of hope and comfort it can bring to grieving families,” said Cmunt. “His unwavering commitment to saving and enhancing lives through donation makes him a highly deserving recipient of the 2017 Lifesaving Partners Award.”

Matics also highlighted social worker Lisa Kuntz for showing “extraordinary kindness” to families while supporting them during difficult decision-making times. “She is a pivotal member of our team and in the process of organ donation with our families,” Matics said.