Organ Donation

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As a Critical Care RN, we see many cases in which the patient becomes “brain dead”, loses brain function and stops breathing.  Weather brain dead results from motor vehicle accident, assault, or an intracranial hemorrhage, when GCS drops below 5, we call One Legacy.  True, it is based on our true assessment of the patient’s neurological status that the call is made.   The concept of who is going to break the news to the family, the question of donating their loved ones organs has been a controversial issue for long.  Will it be the physician or the nurse who are in direct contact with the patient and family?  A loved ones death, and then being asked to donate his/her organs; the family will have to be very strong.  For us nurses, those incidents are challenging and very hard to overcome without upsetting the family. What happens if we make that call to One Legacy and have the professionals who are trained to be proficient at this area break the news to the family.  This way, we have completed our nursing assessment and duty to inform the people in-charge.  Once, One Legacy has spoken to the family, then as nurses we can continue the bedside care, explain to the family what to expect, and offer emotional support.  Taking responsibility to make the initial call is the key to a knowledgeable nurse’s care.

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