Each organ procurement organization (OPO) is one of 69 federally designated organ procurement centers across the United States. An OPO is responsible for matching organs from a patient who has died as a result of traumatic head injury with an individual awaiting a life-saving organ - the gift of life.
When a staff member at one of the hospitals affiliated with an OPO
calls to say that a potential organ donor has been identified, the donation process is set in motion. A procurement coordinator offers the next-of-kin the option of organ donation. If the family agrees, the coordinator calls the national computerized registry of the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS), in an effort to match medically and physically the organ donor with a waiting transplant recipient.
The Role of the OPO Coordinator
When a suitable recipient is found, the OPO coordinator notifies the surgeon who will transplant the organ. If the organ is indeed suitable, the transplant surgeon accepts the organ for transplantation at the recipient's transplant center.
The OPO coordinator schedules the use of an operating room suite for the recovery of the donor organ(s) at the hospital where the donor remains. The coordinator also oversees the medical evaluation of each organ and assists in its surgical recovery.
When the transplant surgeon accepts an organ offered by the coordinator, the transplant center's coordinator calls the waiting recipient, prepares the transplant center's operating suite, and coordinates the transportation of the organ procurement surgical team to the transplantation center.
Individuals awaiting transplantation, as well as those who have received a transplant, are monitored medically by the transplant recipient coordinators at each transplantation center.