3 | Identification of a potential donor

Healthcare Professionals

A potential donor has a non-survivable injury or disease for which no effective treatment is available. This is most commonly a non-survivable brain injury, eg intracranial haemorrhage, traumatic brain injury, hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy. 

A potential DCD donor may also include those with irreversible respiratory failure, eg high spinal cord injury.

Potential donors include patients:

  • who are intubated and ventilated to facilitate CT scanning or other assessment and are admitted to ICU for further assessment and care, even if the prognosis is very poor
  • with very poor prognosis who would otherwise be extubated in the ED
  • who have a CT scan without intubation where the prognosis is very poor (eg low Glasgow Coma Scale and elderly). These patients can potentially become donors but would require intubation and other intensive therapies to be initiated.

Tissue-only donation may be possible for any patient who dies in an emergency department in New Zealand.

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