Deceased organ, eye or tissue donation is the process of giving an organ (or a part of an organ), eye, or tissue at the time of the donor’s death, for the purpose of transplantation to another person. At the end of your life, you can give life to others.
In order for a person to become an organ donor, blood and oxygen must flow through the organs until the time of recovery to ensure viability. This requires that a person die under circumstances that have resulted in a fatal brain injury, usually from massive trauma resulting in bleeding, swelling or lack of oxygen to the brain.
Only after all efforts to save the patient’s life have been exhausted, tests have been performed to confirm the absence of brain or brainstem activity, and brain death has been declared, is donation a possibility.
The state and national Donate Life Registries are searched securely online to determine if the patient has personally authorized donation. If the potential donor is not found in the Registry, his or her next of kin or legally authorized representative (usually a spouse, relative or close friend) is offered the opportunity to authorize the donation. Once the donation decision is established, the family is asked to provide a medical and social history. Donation and transplantation professionals determine which organs can be transplanted and to which patients on the national transplant waiting list the organs are to be allocated.