We Are Sharing Hope SC hires renowned surgeon

May 3, 2023

We Are Sharing Hope SC (SHSC), the state’s nonprofit organ and tissue recovery service, is proud to welcome renowned physician Dr. Joseph Buell as its new Donor Recovery Surgeon. Dr. Buell serves as one of only two organ procurement organization (OPO) recovery surgeons in the southeast and brings decades of experience in abdominal surgery, transplantation and donation to the role.

“Dr. Buell is not only an accomplished surgeon, but he’s transformed the world of organ donation,” said SHSC President and CEO Dave DeStefano. “He brings unmatched expertise and compassion to this role, and is now changing and healing the lives of South Carolinians. It is an honor to welcome Dr. Buell to our organization.”

In his role as Donor Recovery Surgeon, Dr. Buell strengthens connections between SHSC and transplant centers and surgeons across the southeast. His focus is on bringing innovative practices to South Carolina’s organ donation process, and providing the highest quality of care to the next generation of patients through advancements in technology, increasing donations, and potentially expanding donor eligibility. Dr. Buell also aims to increase kidney and liver donations using gender and race data to make matches.

“God put me here [in South Carolina] to use a culmination of what I’ve done in the past to use me in ways I can contribute to our now and future,” said Dr. Buell. “I want to look at data and figure out how to improve the distribution of gifts and come up with mathematical algorithms to solve organ-sharing issues.”

Among his many professional accomplishments, Dr. Buell is credited with performing the first hand donor nephrectomy (hand transplant) for the right side, and creating the first hand-assisted techniques to complete hand transplants. Prior to joining SHSC, he worked with the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) on the unique development of tissue bioprotectants– a hybrid of living human and plastic tissue used to prevent infection in surgical patients.

In 2022, there were 230 organ donor heroes, resulting in 612 organs transplanted and 512 lives saved by South Carolina donors. 390 tissue donor heroes helped enhance the quality of life of 48,000 Americans, a 10% increase since 2021.


More about We Are Sharing Hope SC

SHSC is South Carolina’s nonprofit, federally designated organ and tissue recovery service. SHSC’s teams across the state make the gift of life possible in SC by honoring donor legacies and facilitating life-saving donations at every hospital in the state. Learn more at SharingHopeSC.org.