By law, all hospitals in North Carolina must notify the appropriate organ, tissue & eye recovery agencies when a person has died or when death is imminent. Personnel from the recovery agency (such as Carolina Donor Services, LifeShare Of The Carolinas or Miracles in Sight) check the donor registry to determine if a person has registered as a donor. In 2007, a NC law (Session Law 2007-538) went into effect making the donor registry legal consent for donation, which means that if a person registers their decision to be a donor, their wishes must be carried out and cannot be overturned by others if they are 18 or older. It relieves the person's family from having to make a decision on their loved one's behalf.
If the person is a registered donor, the recovery agency personnel then talk with the family to get a medical and social history of their loved one, to make sure the person's organs/tissues/corneas are safe to transplant to a recipient. If the person is not registered as a donor, the family will be asked to make a decision about donation on their behalf and if the family agrees then they will complete the same medical and social history. If it's determined that a donor's organs are suitable for transplant, then they are recovered and provided for transplant. After the organ/tissue recovery process is complete, the body is returned to the family for whatever funeral arrangements they wish.
There are five transplant centers in North Carolina. If you are interested in learning more about transplantation, please contact the appropriate center:
- Carolinas Medical Center (Charlotte)
- Duke University Medical Center (Durham)
- UNC Health Care (Chapel Hill)
- Wake Forest Baptist Health (Winston-Salem)
- Vidant Health (formerly East Carolina University Medical Center) (Greenville)