November 16, 2022 — Trinity Health System Chief Nursing Operator James L. Middleton, MSN, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, was among those whose work on behalf of organ-donation advocacy was celebrated and awarded at Lifeline of Ohio’s annual Champions of Hope Gala.
“My efforts focus mainly on spreading the facts and increasing awareness,” Middleton said. “Doors are then opened for people to ask questions, and the information allows individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision about whether they wish to be an organ donor.”
Established Trinity Health System’s Donor Council
As a leader within Trinity Health System, Middleton has worked collaboratively with the Organ Procurement Organization (OPO), Lifeline of Ohio, and the hospital liaison to ensure his staff is educated in the minutia of organ donation.
“It’s important for them to be aware of the triggers that must be called in and done so in a timely manner to better increase the opportunity for families to have the privilege to give the gift of life,” Middleton said.
Key to his work has been the creation of a Donor Council. It’s designed to not only increase awareness of the need for organ donation, but to also dispel rumors surrounding donation and the placement of organs.
“The Donor Council is multi-disciplinary and expanding to include members of the community,” Middleton said. “Increased knowledge allows patients to make their own decisions regarding their organs if something were to happen. That makes the process easier for the family and allows us to honor an individual’s donation decision.”
Champion of Hope Awards given to those who meet five criteria
Lifeline of Ohio presents the Champions of Hope awards to those who promote organ, eye, and tissue donation. Criteria for these awards focus on five key tenets that impact Lifeline’s ability to move the mission of donation forward.
These tenets are Advocacy, Collaboration, Innovation, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Compassion.
“What I find most inspiring is how each Champion of Hope forges a path to ensure donation is available to each and every person,” Faith Hilterbrand, Director of External Partner Relations, Lifeline of Ohio, said. “Their efforts encompass all five tenets of our awards.”
This year, 47 individuals were nominated by their peers and colleagues for outstanding contributions to the lifesaving and healing mission of donation. Awards are categorized by the first name or organization name of the winner.
“The award was so generous and really is for the entire organization and the staff in the ICU and the ED here at Trinity Health System,” Middleton said. “Together they work diligently, especially during the period when time is of the essence.
“The staff and their commitment to notify the OPO makes the biggest difference. Though a patient has died, their gift to donate allows others to live. That is a generosity that is needed, and we will continue to fight for those individuals in need of life-sustaining organs by allowing potential donors the privilege of being a donor.”
Lifeline of Ohio’s statement about Middleton
In a statement posted to their website and Facebook page, Lifeline of Ohio said the following about Middleton:
“Someone once said, ‘Serving others prepares you to lead others.’ And that is especially true of Jim Middleton of Trinity Health System, who displays the qualities of a servant leader.
“As Chief Nursing Operator, Jim has been instrumental in organizing staff education focused on donation, as well as forming a Donation Council within his hospital. He helped organize an Honor Walk recognizing the first organ donor at his facility in more than five years and held a flag-raising ceremony during Donate Life Month in honor of this donor and their family.
“Through his passion for saving and healing lives, he continues to raise awareness for organ, eye, and tissue donation and has the very special gift of bringing others along with him on that journey.”
The Lifeline of Ohio mission is to save and heal lives through the gift of donation. One of the most important decisions a person can make is to say “yes” to donation.
“The act of donation is a forever gift,” Middleton said. “The decision by patients or their families is a commitment to helping others and demonstrates unyielding kindness and altruism. Celebrating and honoring the donors is a way to recognize and even thank them for their generous gift of life to someone in need.”