Key Elements of the Virginia Commonwealth Organ Donation Protocol
Request for the organs
takes place in a private setting. Possibly a conference room in or near the
ICU, but not in a public waiting area.
The request is made
as a joint effort between the organ procurement organization (OPO) coordinator
and a designated hospital staff person, in VCU’s case the chaplain. While
both individuals are present at the request, only the OPO representative initiates
the discussion. The role of the chaplain is to continue to function as a supportive
presence and witness to the consent process.
The declaration of death
is separated from the decision to donate. It is most important that the declaration
of death and understanding of death by the family occur before any mention
of donation takes place. In addition, the physician who declares the death
and informs of the family of it is not a participant in the donation request.
This helps to dispel, as much as possible, any appearance of a conflict of
interest on the part of the physician.
The provision of a consistent
family support mechanism (the chaplain) is required. An organ donation committee
has been established. This committee reports to the hospital critical care
committee and oversees and monitors the hospital donation process.