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Vicki Maloney and Abbey

The Donation Process

In Wisconsin, Versiti receives and coordinates organ and tissue referrals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Death occurs. When a patient dies, hospital staff notifies family members. Federal regulations mandate that the hospital notify an organ procurement organization of all deaths. Versiti receives and coordinates organ and tissue referrals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Assess donation possibility. The deceased patient is assessed for suitability for organ and tissue donation based on criteria such as age, cause of death and medical history.

First-person authorization. Versiti checks the local donor registry to determine whether or not the deceased is a registered donor. Versiti informs the family of the deceased’s wish to give the gift of life. If the patient is a suitable donor, Versiti will discuss donation options with the donor’s family. If family members agree to donation, they must sign an authorization form that denotes each organ and tissue being donated.

Gather information. Donor families must also answer a medical/social questionnaire to protect recipients and screen for communicable diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis.

Recovery and transplantation. If the donor’s tissues are suitable, they are recovered during an aseptic surgical procedure, and the body is reconstructed. The recovered tissues are then used as numerous grafts for transplantation. If certain tissues cannot be used for transplantation, some may be donated for research.

Theological Perspective

Nearly all religious groups support organ and tissue donation and transplantation, as long as it does not impede the life or hasten the death of the donor. In fact, many religious groups encourage organ donation and see it as a charitable act that saves or enhances lives.

Versiti encourages all faith leaders to learn about their group’s official position on organ and tissue donation, transplantation and other biomedical ethical issues.

Find out more about specific groups here.

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