For information about The Alfred Hospital ICU's organ donation program

Organ and Tissue Donation: The Alfred

Organ and tissue donation at The Alfred is currently led and coordinated by Hospital-based Donation Specialist Nursing Coordinators (DSNCs) Bridget O’Bree, Sharella D’Souza, Sophie Thompson, Sally O’Callaghan and Clare Healy; and Medical Donation Specialists Dr Joshua Ihle, Dr Judit Orosz and Dr David Anderson. The team works in conjunction with DonateLife Victoria to provide patients and their families the opportunity for organ and tissue donation.

The team has fostered an environment of patient centered end-of-life care, with the goal of exploring the wishes of every dying patient within the care of the ICU team. 

In August 2015 the then federal Assistant Minister for Health, Fiona Nash, visited The Alfred to speak with hospital staff involved in organ and tissue donation.

“Today I have been impressed by the dedication and professionalism of the staff involved in these most delicate and challenging situations. I commend them for their commitment, compassion and professionalism.”

Minister Nash said not only is The Alfred a leader in the field of organ and tissue donation, it is in a unique position to see the benefits that transplantation can provide. “The Alfred stands out as a premier hospital for organ and tissue donation and for transplantation and I am wanting all hospitals to make every effort to be prepared, receptive and ready when the rare opportunity comes for organ donation.”

As the state service for heart and lung transplantation, adult burns, major trauma and neurotrauma, advance cardiac life support, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and ventricular assist devices (VAD), The Alfred has a unique opportunity to explore donation in situations where it was previously not possible. This includes patients who die after being on artificial bypass machines (ECMO) or with artificial hearts (ventricular assist devices), patients with non-survivable burns and older patients. This has allowed the donation team to offer the opportunity of saving and assisting lives through organ and tissue donation as part of routine patient centered end–of-life care.

The Alfred Intensive Care Unit (ICU) has a special interest group (SIG) for end-of-life care; organ and tissue donation is a strong focus of the group. The SIG provides a strong supportive environment for staff during the end-of-life care process.  These SIG members, in collaboration with the ICU multidisciplinary team, advocate for all patients during the transition from active, life-saving treatment to end-of-life care. Their focus is patient centered end-of-life care with a goal of providing every family whose loved one is suitable to be a donor the opportunity to make an informed and enduring decision about donation.

The Alfred is a leader in organ and tissue donation. In 2015 The Alfred had the highest number organ and tissue donation cases than any previous year.  There were more organ donors at the Alfred than at any other hospital in Australia/New Zealand. The generosity of these donors and their families is a constant inspiration to all staff who work within the ICU.

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