The donation of lifesaving organs and tissues involves many people working together to achieve the common goal of saving and improving lives. It begins with our community hospitals.
Step One - Referral
Hospitals in Central Florida call TransLife in the event of a death or imminent death, as required by federal law. A specially trained recovery coordinator visits the hospital to assess if an individual is medically able to donate, and to discuss donation with family members.
Donation gives families a positive option during the most difficult of times.
Step Two - Donation Decision
Under Florida law, if the individual did not previously designate their wishes through the state's organ and tissue donor registry, donor card, driver license or other verifiable form of written intent, the decision to donate life will fall to the next-of-kin. Families previously educated about organ and tissue donation will be better prepared to make this decision.
The process of donation is thoroughly reviewed with every family considering giving the gift of life.
Step Three - Locating Recipients
Once the donation decision is confirmed, TransLife arranges for extensive tests to obtain information about blood type and genetic make-up for each organ transplanted. Test results enable the matching process and ensure the safety of donations for recipients.
The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), a nonprofit organization, identifies medical matches for TransLife from among the many thousands of patients registered on the national transplant waiting list. The country's Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network is maintained by UNOS, as contracted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
A UNOS computerized matching system analyzes medical data in order to create a ranked list of suitable recipients based on urgency of need, the length of time prospective recipients have been waiting, blood compatibility, body weight and the proximity of the recipient's transplant center as it relates to preservation time.
Step Four - Recovery and Follow-up
After all donated organs have been placed, TransLife schedules the arrival of transplant teams. At least two surgical teams are involved in donation. One team recovers the organ while a second team performs the transplant. Most donations involve more than one organ and help to save several lives.
In every donation, the recovery of organs and tissues occurs in a surgical procedure that is extremely respectful of the nature of the gift that has been given.
Following the donation, TransLife sends a letter to the donor family, sharing brief descriptions of the people receiving transplants. Patient names are not provided out of respect for health care privacy. However, letter writing between families and recipients is a common practice, and it is facilitated by our donor program.
TransLife Family Services provides care for families following donation. It is an important way in which we can honor the memories of those who donate life. Donor families are invited to participate in annual Remembrance Day events, submit a memorial quilt block, engage in conversation with other donor families at informal gatherings and receive access to grief resources.