Over the past 20 years, organ transplantation has developed from a work of love by dedicated individuals taking care of patients brave enough to seek transplantation as a cure for their illnesses, to a discipline where patients with endstage organ failures are routinely referred for transplantation. As a result, we have seen an increasing demand for organ retrieval, sharing, and distribution. This change has caused an enormous development in the techniques of retrieval, organ donor management, and how organs are distributed for transplantation.
Organ retrieval now involves and affects, not only the transplant professionals, but also the lives and professions of many others, such as staff at intensive care units and emergency rooms. There, not only physicians and surgeons are drawn into the recovery process, but also nurses, ministers, administrators, and others. Many questions on organ recovery are now asked with no one available to answer those questions. The purpose of this handbook is to be a readily available source of answers for most of those questions. We hope it will provide information, not only for trained professionals, but also for those in training, such as residents and nurses. The handbook has been formatted to provide easy access to the readers' questions.
We would like to thank all of those who participated in the development of this handbook. They have been generous with their time and expertise and willing to share it with all readers.
Organ retrieval is an extremely difficult field in which to work and we are slowly improving our ways of approaching not only the social/ethical difficulties for a higher consent rate, but also our abilities to more perfectly preserve the organs we retrieve. It is our desire that this handbook will be able to communicate these developments that have resulted in today's high level of success.
Marlon Levy, M.D.
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