organ/tissue donation

  1. I am giving a presentation for CEU credits about organ/tissue donation. I have a personal interest in this topic, because I was the one who made the decision to donate my brothers tissues after his death.

    I am curious how other nurses feel about this. Some I have talked to are very much for organ/tissue donation as long as it is not from their loved ones. Many nurses (and physicians) don't realize that there is a difference between organ and tissue donation. (Organ harvesting has to be done with the patient "alive" on life support--but no brain activity. Heart, Lungs, Kidneys, Liver etc. are harvested in OR)(Tissue donation consists of skin, corneas, long bones etc. and can be done with most ages and after the death has occured)

    In our city, there are two different organizations that are responsible for each type of donation.

    So my question is: How do you feel about donating? Has anyone had a personal experience with donating a loved one? If you want to email me I don't know about other states, but in NY even if you sign your organ donor card, if your family decided against it, they will not honor your wishes. So I always teach my students to discuss how they feel + or - about this before anything happens. I am very glad that my bro and I did have a discussion about this several years before he died, then I knew what to do for him. It is difficult losing a loved one, but knowing he helped someone (or multiple someone's) out makes the loss somewhat easier.

    I will share that I was not sure what to expect with an open casket. I knew they took his long bones, corneas, and some brain tissue to study for ETOHism. I felt his arms and legs to make sure there was something there. (I found out 3 years later that they place PVC tubing where the bones were.)

    Thanks ahead to anyone who answers.
    In memory of Danny 7/9/66-9/3/97:kiss :kiss
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  3. by   bagladyrn
    I carry my organ donor card, have organ donor on my driver's license and have told all of my family that any parts I haven't worn out are to be donated, after all I won't need any of it. I've told my son if he doesn't see this done, I will figure out how to come back to haunt him. All of my immediate family members feel similarly, and we have all talked openly about it, so there should be no question when the time comes.
  4. by   kaycee
    I have no problem with organ donation of any kind. God forbid anything happened to one of my family members, but if it was a hopeless situation and organ donation could possibly save another life I would do it. I am an organ donor on my drivers license. In fact when I die, I've told my family whoever wants my body for science, come and get it!
  5. by   fergus51
    All for organ donation. Just bought a shirt that says "Please don't take your organs to heaven, heaven knows we need them here" as part of a fundraiser in town.
  6. by   night owl
    I'm all for organ donations, and it says so on my drivers' license. I too had to make the decision for my brothers organs to be donated. We never discussed it, but he was always helping people and I just knew that he would have wanted himself to go on and continue to help others. They took his corneas, kidneys, heart valves, the long bones and some skin for grafting. Lungs were shot because he was a smoker and his liver was shot because he was an alcoholic. He died of a brain aneurysim in 1996 at 49 y/o. I really miss him, but part of him continues to live on helping others, and to me that is so comforting.
    I have the bumper sticker on my car that reads, "Please don't take your organs to heaven, heaven knows we need them here."

    ~In Loving Memory of Al - 3/22/47 ~ 11/30/96
  7. by   susanmary
    My husband and I have filled out designated organ/tissue donation on our licenses. I've made my wishes known to my entire family. When I'm done with my body, let someone else have every little part. Can't imagine they'd want the nose, though. Seriously, you can't take it with you. Pass it on when you pass on.
  8. by   4XNURSE
    My wife and I have given each other, and our children very explicit instructions. Let them use what can be used. If I am through with it, and it will help someone else, Do it!

    We donate blood regularly. Our children are now into donating blood also. - The two still at home. (18yo and 20yo)

    As a former trauma victim/transfusion recipient, I know the value of donations. I encourage everyone and anyone I can influence to give while they are alive, and afterwards.

    just my $ .02

  9. by   Q.
    I am very much for organ donation.

    I had a very close friend whose father had a genetic liver disease and was a recepient of a liver from an 18 year old suicide victim. He currently is living happy and healthy.
  10. by   BadBird
    Well, I am somewhat disapointed in CORE, The situation went something like this. Patient was an organ donor with a terminal illness. Patient & family thought he was going to die immediately when extubated. Patient was comfortable, alert, vss. Core gave orders to push 80mg of morphine because they wanted to take his liver within 30 minutes. That upset me so much my husband and I went and had the donation taken off of our licenses. I am not necessarily against donating but I don't want my loved one or myself killed for their convenience which is what I believe happened. CORE will forever leave a horrible feeling in me when I have to call them. On the other hand, I think it is wonderful to be able to save a life when there is no hope for yours. I guess I just will have to wait and see what I would do. I probably would donate but tell the nurses that in no way do I want to speak with anyone from CORE because of that situation. By the way, I was not the only one who felt this way, big problem for a lot of nurses. In our state CORE will go against the families wishes if you have donation on your license.
  11. by   CindyJRN
    Also am definitely FOR organ and tissue donation. Please sign a donor card if you haven't already. Is it on the back of your driver's license like it is here in Louisiana?
  12. by   CriticalCareOnc
    i am for organ donation. i work in a hospital that is well known for organ transplantation in southern california . i don't know how it works in other states but all deaths in our setting have to be reported to SCOPC (SoCal Organ Procurement Center). Failure to do so will result in a fine. Providing information about organ donation is part of the Nursing Admission Profile for each new patient that comes in. :roll
  13. by   P_RN
    Since I KNOW that at the last trump I WILL be whole again...I see no reason NOT to donate. Why waste perfectly good merchandise?

    Why on earth would someone NOT want to make themselves immortal? You can live forever in your descendants AND in the descendants of whomever you help live.

    Everytime I see a TV show or hear of an instance where someone has to make that decision, I tell my family that is what I want. I believe they will honor my wishes.
  14. by   hapeewendy
    this is a topic that is a definite hot button issue for me. My aunt, who was always like a mother to me , had a genetic liver disease, when she went to the dr the assumed she was an alcoholic, woman never had a drop to drink in her entire life.

    Went thru a few dry runs where we thought she was getting the liver only to find out it wasnt a match or had to go to someone sicker etc etc, one time she was even in the OR before we found out the transplant wasnt a go, she woke up and thought she already had the transplant, was very tough to explain that she hadnt.
    then on mothers day my aunt, my pseudo mother, got her liver, worked like a charm, but she developed complications unfortunately, trache had to stay in then after a few months on the anti rejection drugs they discovered a brain tumour, inoperable of course.

    she died that september, and from that moment on I have made it my point to educate people on the importance of organ donation.
    I am often met with the opinion that that should be a families decision, to which I agree, the problem comes in when a persons family is not aware of their wishes. I've seen that personally and as a nurse.

    Please make your wishes known.
    the roller coaster I went through with my loved one was enough to convince me that whatever can be used from this body of mine , will be.....

    Its an interesting experience to go through, meeting other transplant patients and their families, there are some really happy endings
    but unfortunately many more people die while on the transplant list.

    I have heard stories of over eager organ retrieval folks , but honestly, I think thats rare, and their feelings have to come from a good place. I really believe that.

    someone cared enough to sign their donor card to give my vibrant 54 year old , nicest person in the world you could ever meet, good christian, good friend , more like a mother, aunt a second chance.
    it didnt work, but I'm still so thankful.

    the saying is true
    please dont take your organs to heaven
    heaven knows we need them here on earth...