ORGAN DONATION

Organ donation may occur in brain death situations, allowing a person to donate kidneys, lungs, heart, liver, pancreas and small bowel.  An individual must be maintained on a respirator, so that the organs remain viable for transplantation.

 

WHO CAN DONATE?

Those who are declared brain dead are eligible to donate organs.  Medical suitability is determined in each individual case, so no one should rule themselves out.  Out of all deaths that occur in the U. S. annually, approximately 1% progress to brain death.

 

ORGANS THAT CAN BE DONATED

  • Heart
  • Kidneys
  • Liver
  • Lungs
  • Pancreas
  • Small Bowel

 

WHAT IS BRAIN DEATH?

  • The total irreversible cessation of ALL brain activity, including cerebellum, cerebrum and the brain stem;
  • An established medical and legal diagnosis of death, defined by Harvard criteria;
  • Brain Death IS Death.

 

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN BRAIN DEATH OCCURS?

  •  A patient is treated for a severe injury to the brain
  • Despite all medical efforts, the patient’s brain swells and cuts off its own oxygen supply.
  • Without blood and oxygen flow, all brain tissue dies within a few minutes.
  • Tests and examinations to confirm brain death are performed:
    • The patient shows a total lack of specific responses and reflexes when a clinical exam is performed;
    • Testing confirms that brain death has occurred (an EEG shows no electrical activity in the brain) or a cerebral blood flow scan shows a total absence of blood flow to the brain.
  •  Artificial support systems may maintain functions such as heartbeat and respiration for a few days – not permanently.
  •  The patient’s family is informed of their loved one’s death and the option of organ and tissue donation is offered.