Once a person has met the initial medical criteria to become an organ and tissue donor and consent for donation has been given either through registration or by the donor’s next of kin, the donation process itself can begin.
Each donor case is unique because there are countless medical and logistical factors involved. The entire donation process can happen very quickly or may take a few days. After brain activity has stopped, machines must be used to keep the donor’s heart and lungs functioning artificially in order to keep blood and oxygen flowing to maintain basic organ function. These machines are sometimes called “life support,” but in the case of a donor whose life has ended, the lives being supported are those of the patients who will receive the precious, donated organs.
During this time, specialists from the organ and tissue recovery organizations can provide as much information about the process as the donor’s family desire. Some families want to be very informed, while others wish to stay removed from the clinical details. Because each family is different, the specialists work hard to understand and respect their preferences.
Because cornea and tissue donation don’t require a donor to be on artificial support, these gifts can be recovered even after the donor has been transferred to the Medical Examiner’s office or a funeral home.
If you would like to learn more about the entire donation process, please click here for a more in-depth explanation.
You’ll be pleased to know that donor cards are no longer needed for those on the Donate Life donor registry.
Registering records your decision to be a donor and makes it known to the right people at the right time, automatically. Neither you nor your family members need to do anything else or keep track of cards or letters.
It may be helpful to know that not all deaths happen in a way that allows donation to occur and family members will only be contacted by organ, eye and tissue recovery specialists if donation is an option. If donation is not an option, donation specialists will not contact the family to spare them any unnecessary hassle during what is an already stressful time.
This short video provides important details about the donation and transplantation process you may find helpful, educational and inspiring.
For those on the registry, there are no further steps needed to ensure that the donation process is initiated at the time of death. Neither you nor your family members need to do anything else. You don’t even need to carry a donor card with you.
Registering records your decision to be a donor and makes it known to the right people at the right time, automatically. Your registration leaves this precious, lifesaving option open, helping to ensure that no medically-viable organ or tissue is lost for lack of consent.
This short video provides important details about the donation and transplantation process you may find helpful, educational and inspiring: