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Dakota Lions Sight and Health + LifeSource

Aug 21, 2019 07:00AM ● By MED Magazine



By Alex Strauss

This Spring, Dakota Lions Sight and Health (DLSH), the Sioux Falls-based tissue and eye donation organization, and LifeSource, an organ, eye, and tissue donation organization based in Minneapolis announced a new partnership. 

While the two groups have been competitors in the area of tissue donation over the years, the leaders of both organizations say their new relationship stands to benefit everyone they serve.

“The best part of this is that we are going to be able to offer more opportunities for donation to more people,” says Marcy Dimond, CEO of DLSH. 

DLSH performs some of the most advanced corneal tissue preparation techniques available anywhere, including Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty (DMEK), and provided 443 corneas in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota last year. 

LifeSource, meanwhile, contracts with 59 North Dakota and Minnesota hospitals to recover corneas. The partnership means that more corneas recovered in North Dakota will be able to stay in the area for distribution through DLSH.

“The goal is always to keep the tissue as local as possible,” says Dimond. “We felt that if LifeSource was going to be recovering corneas in North Dakota, it would be better for us to process that tissue.”

“This partnership really leverages the strengths of both of our organizations to make sure we have the highest level of quality and a high level of service for our hospital partners and families,” says Susan Mau Larson, Director of Partner and Community Relations at LifeSource. 

Although DLSH’s number of corneal donors rose from 686 in 2017 to 807 last year, the organization placed more than 880 corneas in the fiscal year that ended June 30. That means that a number of them had to be imported to meet the demand. Even so, nearly 70 percent of those corneas stayed in the Midwest.

“DLSH has strong relationships with local surgeons and can make those corneas available to their patients,” says Mau Larson. “In partnership, we are ensuring that donated corneal tissue is prioritized back to patients in this area. DLSH is a critical partner so we are honored to partner with them even more strategically to serve the community.”

“To donor families, a gift is a gift,” says Dimond. “If working together streamlines the process, that honors the gift even more.”

Tags: DLSH, LifeSource, partnership, organ donation, corneal donation

Categories: in print, news

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