Organ Donation Process
What happens when I die and have indicated that I want to be an organ donor?
Although everyone has the potential to be an organ donor, the reality is that the opportunity for organ donation is rare. Only 2-3% of hospital deaths occur in a way that allows for donation, as deceased organ donation can only take place when a person dies in a hospital and on a ventilator. If you meet these criteria, you will be referred to the Organ Donor Coordinator in Halifax, Nova Scotia or in Moncton, New Brunswick. The coordinator will review your medical history and current health to determine if you could be an organ donor. Health care professionals on PEI will consult the PEI Intent to Donate Registry to determine your wishes regarding organ donation. Your family will be offered the option to donate organs. If your family supports the option to donate, an organ donor coordinator will talk to them about the donation process, get consent, and ask questions about your social history and medical history.
If donation is still a possibility, your body will be transferred to Halifax or Moncton where tests will be done to make sure you can be a donor. Your organs will be matched with recipients through a national transplant waiting list using a standardized process. Your family members can travel to Halifax or Moncton if they wish, or remain on PEI. Once recipients are found, your body will be taken to the operating room. The organs are recovered and taken to the recipient centres to be transplanted. If you can donate tissue, the tissue recovery is done after the organ recovery. After the procedure, your body is transported to your chosen funeral home at no extra cost to your family.
If my family decides to travel to Halifax or Moncton, will they receive financial support?
There is some financial support available to families who decide to travel to be with their loved one until the donation takes place. Hospital foundations can provide Confederation Bridge Passes, gas cards, and meal vouchers to families. It can take 24 to 48 hours to complete the required tests, find recipients, and arrange organ retrieval.
Will being an organ donor delay my funeral? Will it prevent an open casket funeral?
The surgery to remove organs is done with the same care as any other surgery. The donor’s body is treated with respect and dignity. All areas affected by organ removal are reconstructed. Usually, you can expect the body to be released to the funeral home 24-48 hours after the person has passed away.
Most of the time, there is no way to tell that the person was an organ donor, and you can have an open casket funeral. All donations are confidential; however, if you would like others to know that your loved one was a donor; you may want to include this information in the obituary, the funeral program, or the eulogy.
Who do I contact for more information?
Provincial Organ and Tissue Coordinating Program Manager
95-105 Rochford Street
4th Floor North, Shaw Building
Telephone: (902) 368-5920