LifeSaver Award Series: Dr. Andrew Polito, 673rd Medical Group/Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Military Hospital

Each month, LifeCenter Northwest selects a LifeSaver Award winner. This award honors and recognizes those who demonstrate a commitment to improving donation outcomes and culture through their actions, time and energy.

We are pleased to present this month’s LifeSaver Award to Dr. Andrew Polito of 673rd Medical Group/Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Military Hospital! This is a military hospital on a base outside of Anchorage, Alaska and this was their first-ever organ donation case.

While Dr. Polito was relatively new to this unit at the time of this case, no one else on the unit was comfortable with brain death testing or had been involved in organ donation. Furthermore, this hospital rarely, if ever, cared for ventilated patients for a prolonged period of time. Dr. Polito not only provided exceptional care to this patient and their family, but did an outstanding job of educating the entire unit about the intricacies of managing an organ donor.

On morning rounds, Dr. Polito took the time to explain to the entire medical team why we were doing certain tests or requesting certain orders, as it pertained to this patient but also to the pathophysiology of organ donation more broadly. In doing so, he ensured that all of his colleagues came away with a positive organ donation experience and an enhanced understanding of how a donation case works.

“Dr. Polito showed exemplary leadership and persistent patience as he reviewed the case with LifeCenter and his team,” explained Ashley Ring, LifeCenter Northwest Senior Hospital Development Program Manager.

“We deeply appreciate that Dr. Polito worked collaboratively to exhaust all options to optimize donation and support this patient’s family,” added LifeCenter Northwest Organ Recovery Coordinator Barrett Campbell.

Ultimately, all parties came together to honor the patient’s wish to save lives through organ donation—and supported the family’s decision to honor the patient’s registry status. Two lives were saved thanks to this donor’s gift of life. This was particularly meaningful to the donor’s sibling, a nurse anesthetist with donation experience.

We extend our sincere gratitude to Dr. Polito for simultaneously providing excellent medical care, supporting LifeCenter’s team and educating his colleagues about donation. Under challenging circumstances, dedication like his is what makes the gift of life possible for families and recipients.