Sierra Donor Services (SDS)
Sierra Donor Services (SDS) is the nonprofit, organ, eye and tissue transplant donor network serving nearly four million people in Northern California and Nevada. We are committed to saving and improving lives by connecting one life to another through donation and transplantation. We support potential donor families in their time of loss, provide care for them through the donation process and coordinate the recovery of organs and tissues for transplant. We also provide after-care support to donor families while at the same time working to inspire universal acceptance of donation to ensure every person in need receives the “Gift of Life.”
Additionally, SDS works on public education efforts, with a strong emphasis on encouraging residents to sign up with their state organ and tissue donor registry. Anyone can join the Donate Life America Official Registry, their state registry (California, Nevada), at the California or Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.
In the Sierra Donor Services’ area, more than 2,300 people now wait for a life-saving organ transplant, (heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, intestine or pancreas). The need for transplants far exceeds the number of donations in the area covered by SDS, and across the nation. Currently, in the United States, about 120,000 people wait for an organ transplant. One third of them will die waiting for a transplant.
When a potential donor is identified by one of SDS’ hospitals, we are notified. A SDS Transplant Coordinator, in conjunction with a trained social services worker (Family Care Coordinator) immediately begins work to facilitate the donation process and accesses the Donate Life California and the Donate Life Nevada Organ and Tissue Donor Registry to establish if the potential donor has signed up to be an organ/tissue donor. If the potential donor is on the registry, the family is notified and the donation process proceeds. If the potential donor has not signed up on the registry the Family Care Coordinator supports the donor family and consults them regarding possible donation.
Once consent is ascertained, SDS evaluates the medical suitability of the donor, manages the medical care of the donor until transplantation can take place, and taps into a national database to identify patients in need of transplants. Finally, SDS manages the transport of organs to the surgeons who will perform the transplants into waiting recipients.
SDS’ designated organ donor service area includes 11 counties in Northern California, (Amador, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba), as well as the communities of Santa Rosa and Reno. Currently SDS has organ recovery agreements with 30 hospitals.
Meanwhile, SDS’ tissue recovery operation also serves Inland Northern California, (including Sacramento, ten surrounding counties, Santa Rosa), as well as Northern Nevada. As part of our parent organization, Dialysis Clinic Inc. Donor Services (DCIDS), Sierra maintains the largest possible inventory and can distribute specific tissues to meet individual needs. Our organization serves the needs of patients and physicians, even when circumstances require rare or precise sizes of surgical tissue. Additionally, Sierra Donor Services maintains working relationships with AATB (American Association of Tissue Banks) and EBAA (Eye Bank Association of America) accredited banks across the country to supply tissue to DCIDS local hospitals when we cannot meet an immediate need.
Sierra Donor Services’ Medical Directors include on the ocular side: Mark Mannis, M.D, and Associate Medical Director Ivan Schwab, M.D., while Thomas Komadina, M.D. acts as the Associate Medical Director for the northern Nevada office. For tissue, our Medical Directors are: Robert Ritchie, M.D., and Michael Bauer, M.D. And finally, SDS’ organ Medical Director is Timothy Albertson, M.D.
SDS’ goal is to alleviate the critical shortage of organs by increasing the number of donations in our community and across the country, through public and professional education. SDS’ Executive Director, Monica Johnson states, “We bear witness to the generosity of the human spirit each day, and are honored to care for donors and their families… to ensure that every person in need receives the ‘Gift of Life.’