AbstractBRAIN DEATH IS an anatomically and physiologically complex process. The societal and psychological implications of brain death and organ donation are equally complex, and they have profound ramifications. Because the vast majority of organ donors die as a consequence of catastrophic intracranial processes, neurosurgeons are in a unique position to positively influence the supply of transplantable organs. Enhanced knowledge of the physiology of evolving brain death will improve the care of potential organ donors and increase the probability of successful transplantation. Likewise, better information about patient and family directives, beliefs, grieving, concurrent exposure to other health care workers, and experiences in the hospital environment will assist the neurosurgeon in providing the family with the opportunity for donation. Neurosurgeons can also play a leading role in the multidisciplinary approach required to support the families of potential organ donors during the transition from neurointerventional therapy to somatic support. New federal regulations on organ donation and a review of the literature about the “art of asking” are presented.
Neurosurgery – Oxford University Press
Published: Nov 1, 1999
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