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St. Luke's Boise and Meridian hospitals will now raise a special flag to honor organ donors

Milton Miller, 17, spearheaded the idea as part of his Eagle Scout project.

BOISE, Idaho — In 2018, doctors performed 36,528 organ transplants, according to information on organ donation and transplantation from the U.S. government.

Starting on Tuesday, St. Luke’s will honor those who donate their organs by raising a special ‘Donate Life’ flag at its Boise and Meridian locations.

“I wanted my project to have a real impact on my community,” said Milton Miller, who donated the flags to the hospital. Miller spearheaded the idea as part of a project to earn his Eagle Scout.

The flag will be flown for three days every time a patient and family choose to donate their organs. 

“In the last ten years, they had 72 organ donors between St. Luke’s Boise and Meridian,” Andrea Vandomelen, a hospital services coordinator with the Pacific Northwest Transplant Bank, said. 

Tuesday's ceremony was in dedication to Kristin Clovis, who donated seven of her organs in December. 

“Kristin was a woman in her early 30's who suffered a devastating brain hemorrhage that ended her life fairly quickly,” Alex Chamberlain, the manager of clinical ethics at St. Luke’s Hospital, said.

“She saved five lives that day and gave sight and mobility to at least two people and many others,” Vandomelen said. “This is just so incredible, not all of our hospitals have flag raising protocols to honor donor families, St. Luke’s is maybe the fifth or sixth in our service area.” 

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St. Luke’s is the first hospital to fly this flag in Boise. The hospital will also continue its ‘Walk of Respect’ when staff members honor donors by lining the hallways as patients make their way to the operating room elevators.

“I want people to think hard about not just going to the DMV and checking a box, but be reflective, talk to your families and let them know what you'd want to have happen if a tragedy befell you and if you're a spokesperson for another person learn what they'd want,” Chamberlain said.

As Miller gets ready to become an Eagle Scout, he said this will be something he will cherish forever.

“It makes me feel pretty good because if it's still going on 20 years down the road and I’m still here, I’ll see it and know that I started it, so it feels great,” Miller said.

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