Choosing to give the gift of life through organ or tissue donation can be a difficult and emotionally challenging process for a parent. Children’s Hospital Central California partners with the California Transport Donor Network (CTDN) to ensure all families will have the option of donation when faced with the loss of a loved one. This collaboration allows families to make an informed decision about what is best for their family.
When a family has been notified of the death of their loved one, a CTDN family resource coordinator will join a Children’s social worker, chaplain and the rest of the palliative care team as they offer support to the grieving family. At an appropriate time, the family resource coordinator will share information about organ donation and allow the family time to discuss this option.
If the family agrees to organ or tissue donation, Children’s Hospital works with CTDN and its physicians to recover the organs or tissue. Families can decide which organs or tissue to donate and have the option to stay at the hospital during the process if they wish. Once the organ donation team takes over, it incurs all costs. Whether or not a family chooses to donate, Children’s Hospital and CTDN will continue to provide grief support to the family through follow-up phone calls and referrals to local community support groups, grief counselors and other resources.
CTDN has an extensive donor family follow-up program. It will let them know how their donation saved or greatly improved the lives of other children by sending them health updates on the kids it helped. CTDN is in charge of facilitating communication between donor families and recipients if possible. Each year, a ceremony honoring Valley organ donors is held in the Bay area. Often donor families and recipients meet for the first time at this event.
Children’s Hospital has been awarded the US Department of Health and Human Services Medal of Honor for Organ Donation each year since 2005 for excellence in facilitating the organ donation process for the families it serves.