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February 1996

Invited Commentary

Author Affiliations

Oakland, Calif

Arch Surg. 1996;131(2):159. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1996.01430140049012

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This article represents an excellent example of how an organized program of hospital development can greatly improve the rates of successful organ donation as a result of improved donor identification and donor referral to organ procurement agencies.

Our institution recently identified a significant number of potential organ donors who were never identified and were not referred to organ procurement agencies owing to a lack of information among key hospital personnel regarding the organ donation process. Our study focused on methods for improving the rates of organ donation among minority individuals, especially African Americans, a group widely regarded as reluctant participants in the organ donation process. The focus of our hospital development plan included staff education, 100% donor identification, early referral, and application of the "decoupling" technique, which separates the declaration of brain death from the actual request for organ donation.

Prior to hospital development, only 19% of potential donors actually

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