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