Time Frame of the Organ Process

The process between determination of death and organ and tissue procurement can take many hours to complete. 

A donor case is not complete until organs, tissue, and corneas are recovered and the donor’s body is released to the funeral home. 

Every case is different and it can take a long time to run labs, obtain authorization, run the match list, send out offers, obtain acceptance from a transplant center, and coordinate recovery efforts. 

This can be a difficult time for the family and hospital staff because there is a lot going on behind the scenes to find a match for the patient’s gifts. The role of hospital staff as an advocate is complicated. The staff will most likely feel a lot of empathy for the donor family, however, it is important to also recognize the need of those people on the waiting list.  

Finding a recipient for the patient’s gifts involves a lot of planning, logistics, and attention to detail. Donors can come from any part of CORE’s service area, and recipients can be located anywhere in the region or even across the country. Organs must be properly packed and transported to where the transplant centers are located fpr the waiting recipient. Although gifts must be placed quickly, it takes time to make all of the necessary arrangements.

The hospital staff should let the OPC know about any family or loved ones who are present at the hospital.  The OPC will assure the family that the OPO is working to place the patient’s gifts, and that they can talk to the OPC regarding any concerns. CORE is there to support donor families during the end-of-life care process.



The process of organ donation and transplant requires a good deal of coordination, and yet is also a time sensitive process. Cooperation and efficiency is therefore key for a successful donation.