> Understand the Impact
Our vision at We Are Sharing Hope SC is that every individual embraces organ, eye and tissue donation to save and enhance lives. In order to do that, individuals must be educated on the donation process and make their decision based on facts. Once a person designates themselves as a donor, they should share that information with their close family members who may play an important role in supporting that decision when the time comes.
Though a person may never know the impact of their gift of donation, the ripple effects are endless and the legacy of donor heroes lives on through donor families and transplant recipients.
The Donation Pathway
Making the choice to register yourself as an organ, eye and tissue donor is one of the most important end of life decisions an individual can make. Become educated on the facts, register yourself and share that decision with your loved ones. Oftentimes, a donor family will express that knowing their loved one’s decision to donate was a gift in the moment because it was one less decision they had to make in the midst of their loss.
Medical Care in the Hospital
Whether in a hospital or at the scene of an accident, emergency medical personnel will make every effort to save a person’s life. Donor designation status does not impact life-saving treatment. Organ and/or tissue donation is only an option after all life-saving efforts have been exhausted and death has been legally declared or a family has made the decision to withdraw life support.
We Are Sharing Hope SC maintains a close, collaborative relationship with more than 90 hospitals throughout South Carolina to help define, shape and guide their roles in the donation process. Hospitals are required to notify SHSC of every death or imminent death in the hospital, in a timely manner. At the time of death, or once a family makes a decision to withdraw life support, potential for donation is determined and a collaborative effort between SHSC staff and hospital staff begins.
Once a referral call has been made to the We Are Sharing Hope SC Communications Center, the specially trained staff at SHSC works to determine medical suitability for organ and tissue donation. Once death has been declared, a multidisciplinary team of Family Support Counselors and Clinical Donation Coordinators work to support the family of the patient and also ensure that a clear, clinical pathway for donation is maintained.
In South Carolina, once a person registers themselves at the SCDMV or online, that is a legally binding authorization, in accordance with South Carolina’s Uniform Anatomical Gift Act.
If a person has not documented that decision, or is under the age of 18, their family will be presented with information to make an informed decision for their loved one to become an organ, eye and tissue donor.
Authorization & Family Support
As families are learning of the death of their loved one, specially trained SHSC staff are onsite to support those families and offer the gift of organ, eye and tissue donation as an opportunity to share the gift of life with those in need. The family is given time to ask questions, talk to each other and make a sound decision. This decision is made easier if the family has already discussed donation or the patient has previously registered themselves on the registry. Once a family authorizes donation, SHSC staff continue to support them and provide compassionate care as they journey through their donation experience.
Organ, Eye & Tissue Donation
Once authorization has been obtained, either by first-person authorization or family authorization, staff from We Are Sharing Hope SC begin the process of organ allocation and tissue recovery.
If cornea donation is authorized as well, SHSC staff work in partnership with Miracles in Sight to provide the gift of sight through cornea recovery.
Donation Outcome & Support
After organ, eye and tissue recoveries are complete, donor families are notified of the outcome of their loved one’s gifts and are transitioned into the SHSC Donor Family Services Aftercare program for additional grief support and education. Once a family leaves the hospital, they do not leave the We Are Sharing Hope SC family. Donor families are invited to share the legacies of their loved ones through ceremonial events, speaking engagements and opportunities to connect with other families.