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Organ, eye, and tissue donation involves a complex series of events requiring teamwork among physicians, nurses, hospital staff and procurement and transplant teams.
The four major steps that generally define the donation process are outlined below. The significant activities (in bold) will always occur, but the sequence and time frame may vary depending on individual circumstances. The process can vary from a few hours up to more than 20 hours.
DEATH IN A HOSPITAL
Step 1: Identification and Referral
- Pronouncement of death after evaluation, testing and documentation by the appropriate physician
- Referral to procurement organization for initial evaluation
- Death explained to the family
- Evaluation of patient's chart and key information by Organ Procurement Organizations (OPO)
Step 2: Consent
- Individuals over 18 who are listed on the Donor Registry are considered first person consent – go to 3 below
- Individuals under 18 require family/guardian consent
1. Donation options discussed with family
2. Consent forms signed and witnessed
3. Medical/Social History obtained from family
4. Medical Examiner/Coroner's release obtained for donation
Step 3: Evaluation and Maintenance
- Test for contagious diseases
- Evaluate organ and tissue stability and suitability
- Stabilize hemodynamic functions
- Identify recipients for organs
Step 4: Recovery
- Mobilize transplant teams
- Operating Room organ recovery procedures begin
- Preservation and procurement of organs
- Eye and tissue recovery follow organ recovery
- Autopsy and/or release of body
For further information about the donation process go to South Carolina’s Organ Procurement Organization’s website.