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J Trauma. 1990 Nov;30(11):1366-71.

Cadaveric organ donor availability: regional trauma center vs. community hospital.

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Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle 98195.


Organ donor shortage is now the greatest limitation to the success of organ transplantation. To assess and compare the role of a regional trauma center in identifying and referring cadaveric organ donors to that of a community hospital, we retrospectively reviewed records of potential cadaveric organ donors during a comparable 5-year period in each. The trauma center (TC) contributed 44 donors, while the community hospital (CH) supplied seven. Five hundred sixty-five possible donors were not harvested at the TC, compared to 126 at the CH. While most "non-donors" from both institutions were not suitable candidates, 8% could have served as good organ donors. Inability to obtain consent was the major obstacle in obtaining good candidates (70% at CH, 83% at TC). Failure to recognize and refer possible donors occurred in 2% of the cases at CH, compared to 0.4% at the TC. We conclude that regional trauma centers can play an important role in alleviating organ donor shortage.

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