Ingalls Chaplain Recognized for Support of Organ/Tissue Donation
As Chaplain of Ingalls Memorial Hospital, Gerald Elliott Wyche, M.Div., BCC, is a comforting, spiritual presence for patients and family members in need of support. He’s also the person they turn to when confronted with a loved one’s imminent death and the possibility of donating his/her organs.
“Family Members need to feel comfortable with the decision that feels right for them,” he explains. “They need someone to listen to them as they wrestle with the decision. My role is to offer support and make sure they have the education and tools they need to make the decision properly.”
As chaplain at Ingalls for 31 years, Chaplain Wyche has ministered to hundreds of families facing this painful choice. He’s also a nationally recognized expert on organ and tissue donation and has presented in Washington, D.C., and participated in an educational video on the topic for the State of Illinois.
Chaplain Wyche was recently recognized for his inspiring passion and advocacy for organ and tissue donation during Gift of Hope’s official kickoff of their Mayors for Hope program last week at Ingalls. He is planning to retire from Ingalls in April.
Chaplain Wyche says he’s called in at any time of the day or night to offer support to families. Recently, he ministered to a family who made the courageous decision to donate their loved one’s organs, spending several days with them as they prepared to say goodbye.
“Afterwards, seven or eight people in need of organ or tissue donation benefited from this single donor,” he said. “It’s very difficult to say goodbye, but when they’ve made the decision to donate, it’s a more peaceful goodbye. They can take comfort in knowing that their loved one made this contribution, and out of a very difficult situation there comes some good.”