Just For You

As a health care professional, you play a key role in affecting hundreds of lives each year.

You have the ability to set in motion the process that allows families the rare opportunity to save and improve many lives through organ, tissue, and eye donation.

During their time of grief, donor families often say they feel that some good came from a sorrowful situation.

LiveOnNY is committed to a successful partnership with you and your hospital in support of donor families and transplant recipients.

Your influence reaches farther than you might have imagined.

Why Does Every Death Have to Be Reported?

When Do I Consult With the Donor Network?

Where Do I Call?

What Information Should I Have Available?

What Kind of Donors Are There?

What Is My Role After I Have Made the Call?

Who Talks to the Family (Authorized Person) about Donation?

When Are Families Told About Donation?

Who Can Authorize Donation?

Where Does Organ and Tissue Recovery Take Place?

Out of Tragedy, Something Positive

The Role of the Donor Network’s Donor Family Services Program

Why Does Every Death Have to Be Reported?

Federal and local regulations mandate every death and every imminent death be reported to the local organ procurement organization (in this case, LiveOnNY).

As the consultant in potential organ and/or tissue and eye donation cases, LiveOnNY determines the suitability of each patient.

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When Do I Consult with the Donor Network?

Use of the triggers below will help you comply with the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) regulations, and are the recommended standards of The Joint Commission.

For potential organ donors:

To consult on all patients requiring mechanical ventilation, call us within one hour of meeting the following criteria:

  • Patients where brain death testing is being discussed.
  • Patients with the absence of one or more cranial nerve reflexes (pupils fixed and dilated; no blink, no cough or gag) or Glasgow Coma Scale of four or less.
  • Patients where a discussion for withdrawal of life-sustaining interventions is being planned.

Maintain the patient’s hemodynamic stability to evaluate for brain death. Allow only trained requestors to approach families for consent.

For potential tissue and eye donors only:

To consult on patients, call us within one hour of meeting the following criteria:

  • All cardiac deaths regardless of age or diagnosis. These patients may be suitable to donate tissues, including skin, bone and heart valves, and corneas.

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    Where Do I call?

    Call LiveOnNY’s Donor Center at 1-800-GIFT4-NY (1-800-443-8469). The Donor Center is open 24/7, every day of the year.

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    What Information Should I Have Available?

    • Unit and phone number 
    • Patient’s name, age/date of birth, sex
    • Time of death (if appropriate)
    • Presence of HIV, hepatitis, cancer
    • Labs (WBCs, blood cultures)
    • Temperatures
    • Chest X-ray
    • Coroner’s/Medical Examiner’s case
    • Next-of-kin’s or authorized person’s [LINK TO GLOSSARY] name and phone number

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    What Kind of Donors Are There?

    Deceased Donors

    • Brain Dead: Brain Death is defined as the irreversible cessation of all brain function including the brain stem. The patient is declared dead by neurologic criteria and the time of the second exam becomes the legal time of death. Brain dead donors can donate solid organs, corneas and tissues.
    • Donation After Cardiac Death (DCD): DCD is defined as a procedure in which organs are surgically recovered following the pronouncement of death based on the clinical findings of irreversible cessation of circulation or blood flow. The Attending Physician or designee, according to hospital protocol, withdraws life-sustaining interventions. This can take place in the operating room and the family can be present when the patient cardiac arrests. DCD donors can donate livers, kidneys, lungs, pancreas and tissues.
    • Tissue Donor Only (in the event of cardiac death): Can donate eyes/corneas and tissues that include cardiovascular and connective tissue, bone and skin.

    Living Donors

    • Can donate kidney, partial liver or lung.

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      What Is My Role After I Have Made the Call?

      • Maintain the patient hemodynamically.
        Organ donation can only occur if the organs are kept viable through mechanical ventilation and vascular support.
      • Provide grave prognosis to the family.
        Families need time to accept what has happened to their loved one. Be consistent in your message and work with the LiveOnNY staff member to determine the best time to tell the family about donation.
      • Huddle!
        An established national best practice is taking the time to meet as a group. As a multi-disciplinary care team that includes the hospital and LiveOnNY staff, it is important for all involved with the care of the potential donor to discuss and communicate management, declaration and family care plan.

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      Who Talks to the Family (Authorized Person) about Donation?

      LiveOnNY has highly trained staff whose primary role is to ensure families or other authorized persons carry out the legally binding consent decisions of their loved ones to be donors.

      When there is no prior legal documentation of consent, we seek authorization for donation from the legal next of kin or authorized person.

      It’s the responsibility of the hospital to provide grave prognosis and inform families of the death of their loved ones.

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      When Are Families Told About Donation?

      For potential organ, tissue and eye (cornea) donors:

      LiveOnNY representative will go to the hospital. The family will be told about donation:

      - After the patient has been determined to be a suitable candidate and brain death testing has begun; or

      - After the hospital has approved withdrawal of life-sustaining interventions.

        The LiveOnNY representative works with hospital staff to provide emotional support to the family. In the case of brain death, he/she helps the family understand that their loved one is dead.

        Collaboration between LiveOnNY and hospital staff is imperative to the process to ensure the respect of the potential donor family’s loss while assuring that other lives are saved.

        For potential tissue donors only:

        The family is contacted at home by aLiveOnNY representative, and told about the following types of donation: Corneas, bone with associated tissues of the upper and lower extremities including the hip, skin, saphenous veins and femoral veins.

        You can help by asking the family for a telephone number where they can be reached.

        This will enable LiveOnNY to act quickly and avoid the removal of the patient’s body by the funeral home or the medical examiner prior to donation.

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        Who Can Authorize Donation?

        Designated Donors: These are potential organ and/or tissue and eye donors who have previously documented legally binding consent to donate; for example, by enrolling in the New York State Donate Life Registry. In such cases, the family members or other authorized person will be notified prior to proceeding with donation.

        Non-Designated Donors: These are potential organ and/or tissue and eye donors who have not previously documented legally binding consent to donate. In such cases, the legal members or authorized person is approached.

        Authorized Persons: New York State law stipulates the following order of priority for individuals to make decisions about donation when someone has died:

        1. A designated Health Care Agent
        2. An agent for the disposition of remains (burial agent)
        3. Spouse or a patient's domestic partner if there is no spouse or the spouse is legally separated from the patient
        4. Adult Children
        5. Parents
        6. Adult Siblings
        7. Guardian
        8. Any other person authorized or under the obligation to dispose of the body

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          Where Does Organ and Tissue Recovery Take Place?

          Organ and tissue recoveries take place in the operating room at the hospital where the patient dies.

          • Organ recoveries require: Scrub Nurse/Technician, Circulating Nurse and an Anesthesia Staff Member.
          • Tissue recoveries: These are performed by LiveOnNY technicians and do not require hospital operating room staff.

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            Out of Tragedy, Something Positive

            Unexpected death is countered with life-saving donation, a positive act that offers some comfort to families.

            When a loved one’s prior decision to be a donor is legally documented, donor families find solace knowing they are complying with their loved one’s decision.

            When there is no prior legal documentation, next-of-kin attest to the fact that they feel a sense of meaning when they authorize donation. They are comforted in their belief that the act of donation is something their loved one would have wanted because it reflects their lifestyle and values.

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            The Role of the LiveOnNY’s Donor Family Services Program

            In addition to guidance and consolation offered to families at the time of the donation, substantial support is provided by LiveOnNY with a program of follow-up care for donor families.

            This program provides support and information through a series of phone and mail contacts and special programs for families to attend.

            Donor families receive a phone call shortly after the donation to let them know the outcome of the donation. They are also referred to other agencies and support resources when needed.

            In many instances, donor family members volunteer for LiveOnNY and become passionate advocates for the cause of organ, tissue and eye donation.

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