Making a Tissue Donation Referral

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Notifying Iowa Donor Network of Cardiac Death

1. Hospital Notifies Iowa Donor Network of a Cardiac Death

Call IDN at 800.831.4131 within 1 hour of the patient's death.

2. IDN Evaluates Donation Suitability

IDN will begin the screening process for suitability of donation during the referral call. At this time, the Donation Specialist will also determine if the patient is a registered donor. The Common Screening Questions for Hospital Deaths outlines the most commonly asked questions. Having familiarity with the patient and the patient’s medical history prior to notifying IDN of the patient’s death will streamline the notification process. The Donation Specialist may stop asking questions at any time during the initial screening process, if he/she determines that tissue donation is not a possibility for the patient. If IDN has remote access to the hospital’s electronic medical records, IDN will review the patient’s chart. IDN will determine donation potential:

No Donation Potential 

IDN will notify you that the patient has no donation potential.

Tissue and/or Eye Donation Potential 

The Donation Specialist will work with the referring professional to determine an appropriate time for IDN to contact the family about donation. This ensures that all families are provided with the same information about donation so that they can make the donation decision that is right for them.

Do not ask families if they are interested in donation. In accordance with Center for Medicare and Medicaid Conditions of Participation for Hospitals, “the individual designated by the hospital to initiate the request to a family must be an organ procurement representative…or a designated requestor.” “Individuals involved in a request for organ, tissue, and eye donation must be formally trained in the donation request process.” IDN serves as your hospital’s designated requestor for organ, tissue, and eye donation.

3. Donation Process

The Donation Specialist will complete authorization (or disclosure for first person consent donors) paperwork with the donor family. The Donation Specialist will also conduct a formal donor risk assessment interview. The interview contains pertinent questions about medical and behavioral history to determine the risk of disease transmission to a recipient. This information is required by the Food and Drug Administration and the American Association of Tissue Banks. 

IDN will coordinate with the hospital to begin cooling the body within 12 hours of death. If no cooled morgue is available, IDN may request that hospital staff place double-bagged ice on the body, refer to our Guide to Cooling the Body for instructions. IDN may also request that relevant medical history from the chart be faxed to IDN if IDN does not have remote access to the hospital's electronic medical record. 

Commonly Asked Questions:

Q: What are the eligibility criteria for tissue donation?

A: Criteria for tissue donation eligibility changes frequently due to changes in tissue processor requirements or regulations. What may rule someone out for donation today, may not rule them out tomorrow. Therefore, notify IDN of every  death and let IDN determine patient tissue donation eligibility.

Q: When is a hospital required to report a fetal death or stillbirth?

A: CMS recommends that hospitals report a fetal death or death of a preterm infant weighing 1000 grams or more. If a death certificate is required for a preterm infant weighing 1000 grams or more, the hospital should report the death to the OPO. 

Additional Resources:

Our Vision:

All are inspired to donate life.