Dead? Ambulance Crew Will Save Your OrgansMay 15, 2008
Posted Nov 04 2009 10:02pm
New York Citymay soon be using ambulance crews to increase the number of available organs for transplantation. The nation’s largest city has a great idea. I hope it spreads to other communities as well. I know it is controversial but what new idea isn’t. Vaccinations were controversial when first introduced, too. I like this idea, and I hope you like it as well.
According to the plan, ambulance attendants would be trained to preserve the organs of people who die from cardiac arrest, but would do so only after all life saving efforts failed. The controversial part of this idea is that the procedures used by the paramedics would be without permission from any family member. One of the procedures, the insertion of an endotracheal tube in the patient’s trachea, is obviously invasive. Following is what Bellvue Hospital, the New York City Fire Department and the New York Donor Network propose as proper procedures. (NYFD www.nyc.gov/html/fdny/html/home2.shtml
1. Paramedics will start an IV and inject the blood thinner Heparin into the patient.. .
2. Attendants will continue ventilating the patient through the endotracheal tube inserted into the patient’s trachea. This is done to keep organs oxygenated.
3. The ambulance crew will continue chest compressions, using an automated compression device to keep blood pumping through the potential donor and perfusing the organs.
4. The ambulance will transport the body to the hospital, where further preservation measures can be taken and the family can be consulted about organ donation.
You can expect an outpouring of criticism on this innovative idea. USA TODAY(http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2008-05-07-organ-donor-consent_N.htm)already received dozens of letters, both critical and supportive. Many of the critical letters were based on inadequate information and unsupported claims. I expect that will continue as more people learn of the New York City experiment. Hats off to you Big Apple!