When a patient arrives at a hospital with a severe brain injury and meets certain defined clinical triggers, the hospital critical care staff contacts the local organ procurement organization (OPO)—Donor Alliance in Colorado and most of Wyoming—as required by the Joint Commission and CMS on all deaths and imminent deaths. OPOs are non-profit organizations that are responsible for coordinating the organ donation process and increasing the number of registered donors.

While the hospital continues lifesaving efforts, the OPO determines medical suitability and whether the patient is a registered organ and/or tissue donor. The OPO and the hospital staff collaborate to ensure that the family is cared for and offered the appropriate donation option should death be declared.

Unless the family brings up donation first, it is only after the family has been informed of the patient’s imminent death and the patient is evaluated for medical suitability, the opportunity to donate is discussed.