Frequently Asked Questions – Hospital Professionals
- For a ventilator-dependent patient with a GCS of 5 or less, if terminal extubation or discontinuing vasopressor support is being considered, and/or if a family asks about donation.
- If a patient we are following becomes unstable and/or if end-of-life, options are being discussed.
- Contact the MDRL within 60 minutes of any death.
According to the HIPAA privacy rule, “a covered entity (hospitals) may use or disclose protected health information to organ procurement organizations or other entities engaged in the procurement, banking or transplantation of cadaveric organs, eyes or tissue for the purpose of facilitating organ, eye or tissue donation.” This allows The LLF to access this protected health information for donors and potential donors without authorization for the purposes of determining medical suitability and facilitating deceased donation.
Any patient who is on a ventilator with a GCS of 5 or less, for whom brain death testing is planned, any patient for whom terminal extubation or “allow natural death” are being considered.
Any deceased patient may be eligible to donate tissues. Patients who have been candidates for organ donation may still be able to donate corneas or other tissues. Please call in all deaths within 60 minutes.
The Living Legacy Foundation (LLF) is the federally designated organ and tissue recovery organization for the state of Maryland, with the exception of Prince George’s, Charles, and Montgomery counties.
Calling the MDRL is the first step in the donation process. A timely call will preserve the option of donation by allowing us time to determine medical suitability, donor designation status, and to develop a collaborative plan for discussing donation with the family if and when appropriate. Calling in a referral is required by CMS, The Joint Commission, and your hospital policy.
Anyone from the healthcare team with access to the patient’s medical information can call the MDRL.
Our staff are experts in caring for families the end-of-life. They are healthcare professionals specially trained to discuss donation in a sensitive and culturally respectful manner. The hospital care team are experts in their respective fields and do all they can to save a patient’s life; the family may see discussing donation as a conflict of interest. We are two separate teams who come together when all life-saving measures have been exhausted. When donation is an option, we will work in tandem to support the family through end-of-life decisions.
You can tell them that donation may be an option for their loved one and that you will contact The Living Legacy Foundation to have them speak to the family about the donation process. We will ensure the family understands the options that are available to them.
Contact the Maryland Donor Referral Line (MDRL) for any patient meeting the referral triggers (link to Need to Make a Referral – 4.2.6) and be sure to call back to the MDRL with any changes to the patient’s plan of care, code status, and/or instability. Please also ensure the care team maintains the patient’s hemodynamic status in order for The LLF to complete an evaluation and speak to the family about donation, if appropriate. Maintaining good communication with The LLF will help to ensure donation remains an option the family can consider.