The Organ Donation Process
From the emergency first response to patient matching, this section explains the donation and transplant process.
Emergency First Responders will begin lifesaving efforts at the scene of the trauma. This specialized medical staff will do everything possible to save the patient’s life, while also communicating with emergency room doctors during transport to the hospital.
Upon exhausting all treatment options, if the patient’s life cannot be saved, a series of tests will be performed to determine if brain death has occurred.
After a physician declares brain death, a [AMAT/Donate Life] specialist/coordinator meets with the medical team to determine donor eligibility.
If the patient has registered as a donor, AMAT will inform the family that their loved one decided to give the gift of life.
If the patient has not registered as a donor, our team will meet with the family at the appropriate time to discuss donation options and request their consent.
The donor’s medical information is added to a medical database for patient matching. When a recipient match is found, the transplant surgery team begins the surgical recovery of organs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can become an organ donor?
No one is too young or too old — All people should consider themselves potential donors.
What organs and tissues can be donated?
The liver, heart, lungs, kidneys, pancreas, and small intestine can be donated. Tissues include the corneas, bone, saphenous and femoral veins, heart valves, and skin.
Does my religion permit organ donation?
Most major religions of the world allow and support transplantation and donation. If you’re unsure, you are encouraged to seek the guidance of a trusted faith leader.
Can non-residents donate and receive organs in the U.S.?
Yes. Non-resident aliens can both donate and receive organs in the United States.
Can someone with a medical condition, such as cancer or diabetes, still be an organ donor?
Very Few medical conditions prohibit you from being a donor. At the time of death, the OPO will evaluate your medical history and determine suitability.
Can I donate organs to a specific friend or family member?
Yes. In a directed donation, the donor (or donor family) identifies the specific donor recipien
Can I change my mind after registering to be an organ donor?
You can change your donor status at any time.
Is there ever a conflict between saving a life and donating organs?
No. Emergency responders and hospital staff will do everything possible to save the patient’s life
What is an OPO?
Organ procurement organizations (OPOs) are non-profit organizations that are responsible for the evaluation and procurement of deceased-donor organs for transplantation.