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.