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Nurses' 'lack of trust in diagnosis' presents barrier to organ donation


In 2000 as a student nurse on ITU placement I was helping nurse an 65yr old lady who had suffer a ?haemorragic stroke. a few days later she deteriorated and suffered brain herniation and she was declared brain dead the following day. As she was a donor card carrier she was prepared for organ retrieval and I was given opportunity to watch the procedure. I think it was more curiosity that made me agree but that experience forever changed the way I feel about organ retrieval because as I found out the "dead" don't need an anaesthetic so are simply cut open without any form of anaesthesia which greatly concerned me, especially as I could have sworn I saw the BP rise when procedure began and I thought what if the body could still feel pain but was unable to respond even slightly imagine how terrible it must be? At first I tried to convince myself I was being oversensitive but while researching articles for my critical care assignment I came across an article written a few years earlier by a consultant anaesthetist who admitted he could not be certain beyond doubt that the donor could not feel pain during procedure which in the case of my experience lasted approx 8 hours from making first incision to removing last organ. While I believe organ donation is a wonderful gift I would not agree to it unless I could be absolutely convinced that my loved one would feel no pain.

Posted date

19 November, 2011

Posted time

11:22 pm