Organ donation is a life-saving process that can provide up to 13 different organs from a single donor to help someone in need. However, many individuals are still uncertain about the donation process and may hesitate to become donors. Therefore, it is essential to understand the process of organ donation through the Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) to help make an informed decision.
The OPO process starts with the donor referral when someone in a hospital passes away. The law mandates that when an individual passes away, an Organization Procurement Organization must be notified. When this happens, the organ donation process begins, and the organization can begin to learn more about the person and whether or not they are open to donating.
The next step in the OPO process is the donor evaluation. A donor can potentially donate organs, eyes, or tissue, depending on a number of factors. One of them is the location of the referral. Those who are eligible for organ donations can only come from a hospital. Those who are donating tissue can come from a hospital, funeral home, or being called in by a law enforcement authority. The OPO evaluating the donor will take these settings into account. They will also consider the cause of death, demographics, and medical history of the donor to determine eligibility.
After it is determined that someone is a potential donor, the process of getting consent starts. If someone is a registered organ donor, this counts as the consent for a potential donor. People can become registered organ donors through their local DMV or after registering online. If someone is not registered or they are a minor, then a family member gets contacted for their consent.
Further evaluation continues after the consent of the donor is received. This time directly with the family of the donor. The family will be asked questions regarding the donor’s health and behaviors. These questions are vital in determining any problems that the person receiving the organs may come across. This information could also determine what kinds of donation the individual can carry out: eyes, organs, or tissue.
Medical tests are then carried out on the organs, such as biopsies, to determine if cancer is present. Further testing will also determine any infections the organ may be carrying as well. This information is vital to know prior to a recipient receiving a donor organ.
After the tests are carried out, the main focus is maintaining the organs. The medical professional in charge of this process will be focusing on the blood and oxygen levels the organs are receiving to keep them viable for transplantation.
The organs, tissue, and eyes will then be matched to a recipient through an extensive process. Recipients are given a number according to their factors and background. This number is so that they have no identifiers linked to their waiting status on the list. Once a recipient is selected, the information about the organ is sent to that patient’s surgeon. It is up to that surgeon to accept or deny it based on the information provided.
After a recipient is selected, the final step in the process is taking care of the donor. Depending on the donor, the tissue, eyes, or organs will be removed while ensuring that the body’s appearance is not altered. This way, the family can have an open casket funeral if they wish.
Throughout the organ donation process, testing and analyzing the organ is crucial. Medical professionals need to know the organ extensively before giving it to the recipient. To make this process easier and faster, technology and medical testing are continually improving. Medical professionals are working towards improving the technology involved in organ preservation and transportation to minimize the time between donation and transplantation. The OPO process is a complex and highly regulated process that involves multiple steps from donor referral to recipient transplantation. It is essential to understand the process of organ donation to help make an informed decision. By becoming an organ donor, you can help save lives.
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