Case Study: Family Presence in the OR for Donation After Cardiac Death

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Organ donation after cardiac death is an ethical and acceptable practice of providing organs for transplantation. Organ recovery, the removal of life support, and patient death occur in the OR, and, because family members are not present, some feel that they have abandoned their loved one. This article reports a case study of a young woman brought to a level I trauma center with nonsurvivable injuries from a motor vehicle accident. When clinical examinations revealed no hope of recovery, the family agreed to organ donation if the mother could be present in the OR when life support was terminated. Family member presence during organ donation may provide a sense that some good has come of a personal tragedy. Although family requests may be unsettling, advocating for the patient and family is part of the nurse's role. © 2012 AORN, Inc.




Reed, C. C., Gerhardt, S. D., Shaver, K., Koebcke, M., & Mullins, D. (2012). Case Study: Family Presence in the OR for Donation After Cardiac Death. AORN Journal, 96(1), 34–44.

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