How does your agency deal with potential Organ Donors?

Do you "work harder" on keeping them "alive" or "viable"?

Does it make any difference?

Do you ever find out onscene that the patient is signed up to be an organ donor?

Are they treated with a higher priority or level of care?

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The fact that someone is an organ donor has absolutely nothing to do with the level of care rendered.

Frankly, to ask that question would be like asking, 'do you work harder to save a (male, female, black, white, muslim, jewish, christian, adult, child, handicapped) patient.

Is there such a thing as a stupid question? I dunno...what do you think?
We don't. Maybe the hospital does.

A piano donor might be a different matter.
I was thinking the same thing. That's right up there with the people who think that if they're an organ donor, the hospital won't work as hard to save their life so that they can use the organs.
Hey Rachel: I think this is a great question for a newbie to understand. I'll try to answer from my basic perspective, but there are probably more complicated answers.

Normally EMS staff do not know on scene if someone has designated themselves as an organ donor. When we do find out on scene, we advise the family that they can advise the hospital staff - or the hospital will find out from their ID.

However, the organ donor status does not lead emergency patient care - THE PATIENT'S LIFE IN FRONT OF US LEADS ALL PATIENT CARE... in the field... either the patient is viable for CPR or not - this is what drives patient care at the point nearing death.

(You can look up the rules for not being viable for CPR - such as decapitation.)

If the dying person is a CPR candidate - then ALL PATIENT CARE IS PROVIDED TO SAVE THEM.

If the dead person is NOT a CPR candidate - then emergency medical care stops as the patient is transferred to those in charge of human remains.

Where I worked EMS, our ER Medical Director would be the final say whether we would sustain patient care or stop patient care in the field - so we would have to radio the hospital to report something like - the patient has no head - so we request permission to not do CPR - since the patient was not seen as viable to life.

On occasion when we called to ask if we could NOT do CPR - the ER Medical Director would over-rule us, and ask us to do CPR anyway and advanced medical care.

And on occasion after we were providing CPR care - the ER Medical Director would over-rule us, and ask us to stop CPR - like in the case of an extremely premature birth.

The hospital has another group of people who can evaluate organ viability... outside of their emergency room staff... and then they consult with the emergency room staff... AFTER the emergency room staff has exhausted ALL OPTIONS to save the life of the person in front of them FIRST!


to specifically answer your questions:


Do you "work harder" on keeping them "alive" or "viable"? NO

Does it make any difference? NO

Do you ever find out onscene that the patient is signed up to be an organ donor? YES

Are they treated with a higher priority or level of care? NO


Keep asking the questions you need to learn - study study study.
Just to make this clear:I DO NOT SUPPORT ORGAN DONATION

I did not think that it mattered whether or not a patient was an organ donor for the level of care rendered. I just wanted to know if i was right.

Thank you for your insight. Thank you very much for your willingness to answer my questions in such an easy way for me to understand.
Work harder? So you change you patient care based on certain patients? Are you God?

While I respect your right to have your own opinion. I'm just curious as to why you would NOT support organ donation, in light of the fact that many lives are saved every year through organ donations?
I support the Donation of NONVITAL ORGANS ONLY

The reasons I do not support vital Organ Donation are plentiful. (Don't let it suprise you if I write a blog post about it)

To transplant a vital organ such as the heart, the organ must be "viable", it must still be beating.

EMS should know this in particular~
If the heart is without oxygen for 8-10 minutes (mostly less-Right?) the heart is not going to restart.
It is hard, if not impossible, to resuscitate a patient that has been "down" for too long.

The Heart must be stopped and then quickly transplanted and restarted.


The Doctors must "kill" the donor.

Just my opinion, but it is shared by many.
"The Doctors must "kill" the donor."

It's my understanding that the pt must be brain dead first. The decision to end life support is then made by the family/next of kin. The Doctors themselves do not just take it upon themselves to "kill" the pt.
The Doctors must "kill" the donor.

Actually not. As mentioned in my paramedic class, "the only reason we have a body is to carry our brain around and amuse it". That really IS the difference, when the brain is dead, you really are not living, even if you have a B/P, pulse etc. There are also events that the person is not going to survive, despite the best life saving attempts. Yes, it can be a decision for a family to finally let a loved one go, but the reality is when there is no brain activity, the person really is dead, so why not let someone else benefit from the gift of organ donation?

Also, when a person does put an "organ donor" sticker on their driver's license/ID card, it is their wishes, not yours, not the family and so forth. It is not "killing" the donor but the honoring of the person's wishes.

Also the heart does not have to be kept beating....the brain needs the heart, not the other way around. The heart can still be viable even if it hasn't been beating for some time, so the sense that the doctor's "kill" the pt is inaccurate. So for the most part, even if you come across a pt who is PNB and has been down for some time (longer than say 8 minutes) the chance of them surving with brain activity is low, however, the heart can still be viable despite the fact the person is dead.
I agree with you mostly-

Although, "Putting the 'sticker' on the drivers license or ID card" May be that persons wishes~Not many are completely informed about the actual procedure that is performed.
Especially the teens who are more prone to doing Risk taking things(such as drive to fast). They are "looped" in early.

When I get my drivers License I WILL NOT have the "Sticker" on it

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