ThedaCare Hospitals Receive National Tissue Donation Honor

AMC Increased its Conversion Rate by More Than 30 Percent in One Year

The American Tissue Services Foundation is honoring Appleton Medical Center (AMC) and Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah for their outstanding efforts in providing families with tissue donation options. 

The American Tissue Services Foundation honored AMC for the first time while Theda Clark is being honored for the second year in a row.

AMC achieved a 35.14 percent conversion rate – a huge improvement over its 5.35 percent rate in 2010. Theda Clark’s conversion rate was 48.72 percent. The conversion rate measures how many donations were received from eligible candidates.

Noelene Arnett, the leader of AMC’s Organ Procurement Organization, said increased training and awareness about organ and tissue donation is the reason for the dramatic increase.

“All intensive care unit nurses are trained to be designated sequesters, which means they are trained  to recognize potential donors, how to approach families and support them through the process, and how to care for the patient until the donation is made,” she said.

Arnett said tissue donation isn’t just limited to the ICU. She said most tissue donors at AMC came through the Emergency Department.

“The work done by the staff at Appleton Medical Center has helped donor families create a legacy and makes something positive at a difficult time in their lives,” said Lori Shinstine, vice president of the American Tissue Services Foundation.

Tissues that can be donated include bone, heart valves, veins, skin, ligaments and tendons and can be recovered for up to 24 hours after a death has occurred. While organ donors must be declared “brain dead,” that’s not the case for tissue donors. To become a tissue donor, a person must have died a biological death and their heart and lungs have permanently stopped functioning. An estimated 20,000 tissue donors lead to nearly a million tissue transplant surgeries every year in the United States.

The American Tissue Services Foundation encourages everyone to sign up to become a tissue, eye and organ donor by joining the Wisconsin Donor Registry at

AMC is a 160-bed acute care hospital that opened in 1958. In addition to general medical and surgical care, services include the Appleton Heart Institute, a fully staffed emergency department, pediatrics, birthing services, a comprehensive cancer center, and ThedaCare Orthopedic Care, which integrates orthopedics, sports medicine, outpatient rehabilitation and other services. Appleton Medical Center is an accredited Chest Pain Center by the national Society of Chest Pain Centers.

Theda Clark Medical Center is a 166-bed acute care hospital founded in 1909. In addition to general medical and surgical care, specialized services include a birth center, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin - Fox Valley, the region’s only American College of Surgeons Verified Level II Trauma Center, the Aylward Outpatient Surgery Center and ThedaStar Air Medical Helicopter. Theda Clark Medical Center also offers comprehensive neuroscience care and the Theda Clark Stroke Center was the first stroke center in Northeast Wisconsin to be certified as a Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission. The Bariatric Program at Theda Clark, along with Midwest Bariatric Solutions and its surgeons, have jointly received two Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence designations by the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Bariatric Surgery.

ThedaCare™ is a community health system consisting of five hospitals: Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark Medical Center, New London Family Medical Center, Shawano Medical Center, and Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca. ThedaCare also includes ThedaCare Physicians, ThedaCare Behavioral Health, and ThedaCare at Home. ThedaCare is the largest employer in Northeast Wisconsin with more than 6,175 employees. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.