Carolina Donor Services Medical Experts Consult with Hollywood

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Two medical experts with connections to Durham-based Carolina Donor Services are assisting Hollywood’s entertainment industry to provide facts about organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation.

Former Carolina Donor Services Medical Advisory Board member, Matthew G. Hartwig, MD of Duke University Health System and current Carolina Donor Services Assistant Medical Director, Thomas A. Nakagawa, MD, Professor, University of Florida College of Medicine and Medical Director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida are members of Donate Life Hollywood (DLH) Medical Experts team.

Carolina Donor Services, North Carolina’s largest organ donation and tissue recovery organization, is a Partner of DLH, which represents the national organ, eye and tissue donation and transplant community. DLH is working with Hollywood writers, producers, and directors to help them tell authentic and empowering stories about donation and transplantation. DLH builds partnerships with the entertainment industry to help accurately tell these stories and save lives.

“The entertainment industry plays an important role in how the public perceives medical care in the U.S., so I consider it vitally important that transplantation is appropriately represented in movies, T.V., and other entertainment venues. Because of this, it’s been a real privilege to work through Donate Life Hollywood to support actors, directors, producers, and others in entertainment as they advance the cause of organ transplantation,” said Dr. Hartwig, Associate Professor of Thoracic Surgery, Duke University Health System.

“We know that Hollywood wants to get it right when it comes to organ donation and that when they don’t it can perpetuate fears and myths that cost lives,” said DLH Founder, Tenaya Wallace. “Conversely, when Hollywood tells inspiring and authentic storylines, it can shed light on the power and beauty of organ donation and on how it gives people a second chance at life.”

DLH serves as a liaison between the organ, eye and tissue donation community and the entertainment industry. Its goal is to see more authentic and empowering storytelling about donation and transplantation, while also eliminating myths and fears. Through DLH, film companies, television programs, entertainment studios, producers and writers have access to a network of experts —from renowned transplant surgeons to families whose loved ones became an organ donor—for free consultations on all aspects of organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation.

“As an organization on the frontlines of donation, we see directly how entertainment can both positively and negatively impact people’s views on donation and transplantation. By working with DLH, I believe we can help tell the true, heroic story that will in turn, help us to save and heal more lives than ever before,” said Danielle Niedfeldt, RN, JD, President and CEO of Carolina Donor Services.

“Everyone involved with creating these stories wants to be factual and as realistic as possible,” stated Dr. Nakagawa. “We are providing a much-needed resource for them to access. In the end, the creators win, the stories win and so does the audience. If we save one life through this partnership, then everyone wins.”

More information about DLH can be found here. To register to become an organ, eye and tissue donor, visit DonateLifeNC.org.

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