Grand Prix de Transplant Québec : A Montreal Children’s Hospital recognized leader in organ donation

Montreal, February 22, 2024 - Transplant Québec is pleased to award its Grand Prix 2022 to Dr. Sam Shemie, Medical Director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at the Montreal Children's Hospital (MCH) and Associate Investigator at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), in recognition of his outstanding commitment, leadership and professionalism in advancing the practice of organ donation in Quebec. The honour was bestowed today before his peers at the MCH.

"Our recipient is recognized as an international leader for his work in the field of organ donation. In 2020, during Transplant Québec's 50th anniversary celebrations, he was selected as one of the 50 most inspiring personalities in organ donation in Quebec who have left their mark on the community over the past 50 years," says Martine Bouchard, Executive Director of Transplant Québec. "A renowned professor at McGill University, he is passionate about passing on his expertise in organ donation to his interns. He has played a key role in training and mentoring more than a hundred critical care physicians in Quebec, Canada and around the world, to ensure that the next generation is aware of the importance of organ donation."

"As a researcher, lecturer, professor and clinician, Dr. Sam Shemie has helped advance knowledge in the field of organ donation around the world. I'm particularly proud to lead an organization like the MUHC, which attracts the best talent and fosters the development of innovative ideas. It's also wonderful to work with people who go above and beyond to help our patients and their families, and save lives in the process. Congratulations to Dr. Shemie on this well-deserved honour," says Dr. Lucie Opatrny, President and Executive Director of the MUHC.

"Dr. Shemie's work has helped to establish many leading practices in the field of organ donation, focusing on the needs and rights of patients, always with care and respect. Congratulations again, Dr. Shemie. Thank you for sharing your unique expertise and inspiring an entire community with your energy, passion and dedication," says Sonia Bélanger, Quebec Minister responsible for Seniors and for Health.

The Grand Prix de Transplant Québec recognizes the remarkable contribution of a physician, health or social services professional or manager whose expertise is recognized by their peers and who has been involved in organ donation and transplantation in Quebec for at least ten years.

About Dr. Sam Shemie

Dr. Sam Shemie is an internationally recognized leader in the field of organ donation. As Medical Director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at the MCH and Associate Investigator at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, he has published over 200 scientific articles on various aspects of organ donation and has shared his expertise at numerous conferences around the world. Thanks to his efforts, organ donation issues, at first little discussed at intensive care conferences, have become a priority in his field.

It was also under Dr. Shemie's leadership that guidelines were published last year to standardize the definition of death across Canada. This definition, based on brain death, put an end to a number of legal and ethical uncertainties across the country.

Always working at the bedside of sick children, Dr. Shemie has also designed several practical guides, notably on how to approach families with transparency and empathy. Despite his scientific achievements, he has never lost sight of the very real aspect of organ donation for distressed parents who have lost a child and he accompanies them through this ordeal by enabling them to help a patient in turn.

About organ donation

In Quebec, in 2022, 171 deceased people donated their organs, and 483 people received transplants. As of December 31, 2022, there were 913 people on the waiting list.

About Transplant Québec

With the goal of saving lives or improving the health of people in need of a transplant, Transplant Québec, under mandate from the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux, coordinates the organ donation process, ensures fairness in the allocation of organs, supports the improvement of clinical practices through concerted action and the mobilization of partners, and promotes organ donation in society. In this way, Transplant Québec actively contributes to ensuring that the greatest possible number of Quebecers waiting for an organ can benefit from a transplant.

About the Montreal Children’s Hospital

Established in 1904, the Montreal Children's Hospital (MCH) is Quebec’s oldest children’s hospital and the pediatric hospital of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). A tertiary and quaternary care teaching and research facility, treating newborns, children and adolescents up to age 18, it serves 63 per cent of the geographic population of Quebec.

With its pediatric care and research facilities adjacent to the adult facility on the Glen site, the Children’s is in a unique position to offer services and research across the lifespan. The Centre for Innovative Medicine - the only clinical research centre in a hospital setting in North America – allows its researchers to conduct clinical trials on the Hospital site.

The Children's is a leader in providing a broad spectrum of highly specialized care to young patients and families from all across Quebec. The hospital is a provincially designated trauma centre and is recognized for its wealth of expertise in cardiology and cardiac surgery, emergency care, neurology and neurosurgery.

Sources : Transplant Québec/Montreal Children’s Hospital