Press conference image at Rush donor care center announcement

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Yuliya Ryvkina | Public Relations Specialist

RUSH, Gift of Hope to partner on organ donor care center

First Illinois facility will better serve donor families, improve recipient outcomes

CHICAGO (Oct. 9, 2023) – RUSH and Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network today announced plans to open Illinois’ first hospital-based donor care center — a world-class surgical unit for deceased organ donors, staffed with leading clinicians and allied multidisciplinary services to optimize the impact of every organ donation and save more lives.

Donor care centers are dedicated facilities for optimizing donor management and the surgical recovery of life-saving organs for transplant. They have emerged as a national best practice to better serve donors and their families, increase the availability of transplantable organs and offer improved transplant outcomes.

Deceased donors are transferred from hospitals across Gift of Hope’s donation service area (Illinois and northwest Indiana) to the donor care center for specialized, time-sensitive clinical management that optimizes each donor’s gifts. Transferring hospitals can better utilize their ICU beds, operating rooms, ventilators and critical care staff to care for other patients. For families of donors, the 24/7 availability of a dedicated donor care center expedites the donation process and the ability to proceed with arrangements following a loved one’s loss and life-giving donation.

The location of organ recovery does not change the strict process for placing donated organs with potential recipients on the organ transplant list most in need, based on the nation’s allocation system and policies.

Scheduled to open in July 2024, the Gift of Hope Organ Donor Care Center at RUSH will include six donor care bays, two operating rooms, and 24/7 medical and allied services dedicated to donor management and recovery. A family lounge and support services will provide a comfortable and caring experience for donors’ families.

Close collaboration with area hospitals will ensure seamless operations transferring deceased donors to the Gift of Hope Organ Donor Care Center at RUSH for organ recovery surgery. This will allow transferring hospitals to utilize their ICU beds, operating rooms, ventilators and critical care staff to care for other patients—while the donation process is managed by specialized clinicians and allied teams at the organ donor care center.

“The Gift of Hope Organ Donor Care Center at RUSH will ensure that Illinois and northwest Indiana continue to innovate and optimize the decision of every individual to donate and save lives,” said Harry Wilkins, MD, Gift of Hope President/CEO.  “We are proud to partner with RUSH on establishing the Midwest’s first hospital-based donor care center, in collaboration with all of the hospitals in our region to increase donation that offers a second chance at life for the more than 103,000 people waiting desperately for life-saving transplants.”

“RUSH is proud to work with Gift of Hope in serving our region’s families, hospitals and patients through the Gift of Hope Organ Donor Care Center at RUSH — building on our long-standing work together and our priority on increasing organ and tissue donation and advancing equitable access to transplantation regionally and nationally,” said Dr. Omar Lateef, RUSH President and CEO.

Gift of Hope is one of only three organ procurement organizations in the nation to work with more than 500 donors and their families in a single year, and recover more than 30,000 organs since its inception in 1986.

More than 7 million Illinois residents have registered their decisions to become donors in the Illinois Organ/Tissue Donor Registry. Fewer than 3% of all individuals who die are medically eligible to donate at the time of their death—making every registered decision critical in the authorization and time-sensitive donation process when donation is a possibility.

To learn more about donation and register as a donor, visit and join the Illinois Organ/Tissue Donor Registry or Donate Life Indiana registry. A link is provided for residents of other states to locate the donor registry where they live.

About Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network

Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network is the not-for-profit organ procurement organization (OPO) that coordinates organ and tissue donation and provides public education on donation in Illinois and northwest Indiana. As one of 56 OPOs that make up the nation’s organ donation system, Gift of Hope works with 180 hospitals and serves 12 million people in its donation service area. Since 1986, its work has saved the lives of more than 26,000 organ transplant recipients and improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of tissue transplant recipients. For more information, visit

About RUSH

RUSH is a national leader in outstanding patient care, education, research, community partnerships and health equity. RUSH University Medical Center is ranked among the top healthcare providers in the nation – RUSH was recently recognized as the number two provider of inpatient care quality in the nation by Vizient, a top teaching hospital by Vizient and is consistently recognized among the best in nation in U.S. News & World Report’s Honor Roll of Best Hospitals. Rush University System for Health (RUSH) is a nonprofit that includes RUSH University Medical Center, RUSH University, RUSH Oak Park Hospital and RUSH Copley Medical Center in Aurora, as well as an extensive network of providers and outpatient care facilities. RUSH University, with an enrollment of more than 2,800 students, comprises four colleges: RUSH Medical College, the College of Nursing, the College of Health Sciences and the Graduate College.