Federal law requires hospitals to contact recovery agencies in the event of a death or imminent death. The donation process begins when a hospital reports a death to a donor referral hotline. If the person appears to be a candidate for donation, the coordinator will access a Donor Registry, if available, to see if the deceased has already given first person consent*. If the individual’s wishes are unknown, the coordinator will discuss the option of donation with the family.
Upon obtaining documentation of first person consent or family consent, a Community Tissue Services coordinator will begin the evaluation process. Each donor is thoroughly evaluated using medical/social history questionnaire, medical records, blood tests, culture results, physical examinations and autopsy reports (when performed). This information will help determine the suitability of tissue for transplantation.
The Community Tissue Services coordinator schedules a recovery team to recover tissue. The team recovers tissue in a sterile surgical procedure. At all times, the donor is treated with the utmost respect and dignity. Once tissue recovery has been completed, the team reconstructs and sutures the incision. A donor family does not pay any costs associated with the recovery of tissue.
Following the recovery process, a funeral can be held with minimal delay. There can be an open casket funeral, viewing or other standard memorial.
Every donor family becomes a part of Community Tissue Services’ bereavement program, which provides regular correspondence and grief literature for the first year following donation.
* First Person Consent: Allows you to legally give authorization to donate your organs, tissues and eyes, upon your death, for all purposes authorized by law.