Can a person still donate tissues in the case of an autopsy?
Tissue may be recovered either before or after an autopsy, depending on which tissues are to be recovered, the nature of the autopsy, and the policies and procedures of the medical examiner.
How long can donated tissues be stored before they are used?
If tissues are packaged and stored properly, most can be kept from 5 to 10 years, depending on the procedures set forth by the processing agency.
Can donated tissue be rejected by the recipient’s body?
In contrast to organ donation, tissue grafts do not have to be matched to recipients’ blood type. Rejection of tissue grafts is uncommon.
How is the recipient protected from the risk of disease transmission?
United Tissue Resources employs many different screening and evaluation tests to identify medically eligible donors. We will not recover tissues from individuals who have any health-related risk factors that would make donated tissue unsuitable for transplantation.
Before donation, a detailed medical and social history is obtained from the potential donor’s next-of-kin or close family member or friend to identify any such risk factors. Other testing procedures include blood testing, culturing, and detailed reviews of health information. Through this process many potential donors are disqualified for malignant cancer, infections, autoimmune disease, IV drug abuse, and many other exposures or behaviors that might result in a risk to the potential recipient of the donated tissue.
Tissue recovery takes place in an aseptic surgical environment. Tissues are surgically recovered and sent to a processor where they are further evaluated for surgical implantation. The tissues are processed using a variety of procedures that eliminate the possibility of disease transmission.
What if there is conflict within the family about the decision to donate?
United Tissue Resources does not want to cause any additional stress for the family. We will work with the family to resolve conflict whenever possible but will respect a family’s final decision.
Even if I’ve registered as a tissue donor, can my family still refuse to donate my tissues when I die?
In the state of Texas, the law does authorize organ and tissue donation if a person has registered with Donate Life Texas. However, family member cooperation can be required in order to obtain information regarding the donor’s history and medical condition. This is why it is vitally important that you make your wishes known to your family.
How does United Tissue Resources get involved once a death occurs?
Federal law requires that all hospital deaths be reported to organ, tissue, and eye donation organizations. United Tissue Resources has also built relationships with funeral directors, hospice workers, and justices of the peace in order to be of service to families when loved ones die outside of the hospital.
How are donated tissues used?
Heart valves help repair cardiac defects and are used to replace diseased or deformed valves. Donated valves may be life-saving for these recipients.
Long bones of the leg and the crest of the hip become several smaller grafts used for spinal fusions, dental surgeries, and to repair damaged or diseased bone anywhere in the body. Bone grafts prevent amputations, as well as accelerate and promote healing.
Skin is an organ that is often abused and underappreciated by the individual until its compromised results and pain and loss of resistance to infection. Among the uses for skin grafting are promotion of accelerated healing of burns and other wounds, reduction of scar tissue, reduction of fluid loss, and protection from bacterial infection.
Saphenous veins can be used in cardiac bypass surgeries and in preventing amputations in individuals with chronic circulation problems by restoring blood flow to a leg.
Tendons and ligaments can be used to replace damaged tendons and ligaments in patients who have sustained injuries, restoring mobility and independence.
Fascia is the tough membrane that encases muscles. It is used as a tendon to repair injuries or as an internal support for organs such as the bladder.
Nerves provide the pathway for both motor and sensory signals between the central nervous system and muscles or organs throughout the body. Nerve injuries may result in loss of motor function, sensory function, or both. Nerve injuries may occur as a result of trauma or acute compression.
What is tissue donation?
Tissue donation is a life-enhancing and often life-saving gift of bone, skin, heart valves, veins, and connective tissue. Tissues are recovered from deceased donors and transplanted to recipient patients. These allografts can reduce pain, prevent amputations, protect against infections, and improve the quality of or potentially save the life of recipients.
Who can be a tissue donor?
Any individual from aged 36-weeks gestation and older whose heart has stopped beating may be a potential tissue donor.
Is it possible to have an open casket funeral after tissue donation?
Yes, it is. The donated tissues are removed in an aseptic environment using standard surgical procedures. During the process, the donor’s body is treated with the utmost care and respect. Surgical reconstruction is always performed to restore the body to its natural shape and to allow for open casket viewing.
What is the difference between organ and tissue donation?
Most people have heard of organ donation, but tissue donation is not as commonly discussed. Yet it is actually much more common. Organ donation includes the life-saving gift of solid organs such as heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas, and small bowel. Patients must be declared brain dead and maintained on mechanical support. Waiting recipients are on a list and receive organs based on the severity of need.
Tissue donation is a life-enhancing and often life-saving gift of bone, skin, heart valves, veins, and connective tissue. These gifts are surgically removed after the heart stops beating. There is no waiting list for tissue recipients.
Is there a cost to donate tissue?
No. This is a gift, and there is no charge to the donor’s family. All costs associated with the donation are charged to the tissue recovery agency. Funeral expenses remain the responsibility of the family just as if there were no donation.
If I have already decided to become a donor, should I contact United Tissue Resources before my death to arrange for donation?
Since medical suitability is the major determining factor for all donation, individuals cannot be evaluated as donors until the time of death. At that time, medical conditions, medications, and disease history will all be taken into account according to current donor eligibility criteria. To indicate your wish to be evaluated as a potential donor, we encourage you to sign up on the Donor Life Texas registry.
How soon must donation occur?
The surgical recovery of potential tissue grafts must be initiated within 24 hours from the time of death.
Feel free to give us a call at (512) 206-1128 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org