I had the pleasure of starting my first day on the job at Gift of Hope with Cara Moulesong. It was her first day too, as an Organ Recovery Coordinator. During her time here, she has shared many interesting tidbits with me about her position and has agreed to share them with our readers here. It’s all too often that the public is unaware of the extensive coordination and numerous people that are involved in making a transplant a success.
Here’s some insight into one of the many special people behind the organ donation process. Thanks Cara!
Q: What’s a typical work day like for you?
A: As an organ recovery coordinator, I am scheduled on call for 7 days, and then off call for 7 days following. I am part of an “on call” team of seven members. We all work closely together, to support one another. My work day can vary. I may “run” referral’s (when a patient is called in as a potential donor candidate, either due to an anoxic injury or a traumatic brain injury), or I may “catch” a case.
A case begins with the requester receiving consent from a donor family and then my being dispatched to the hospital where that donor is. We begin with a series of blood tests, and numerous other tests that I need in order to check for organ potential. It can be a very long process.
I work with the staff at the hospital, as well as their physicians. I remain in constant contact with the organ placement coordinator (back at Gift of Hope) so that they can place organ offers out to transplant centers. These transplant centers then accept the offer, or turn it down for some reason known only to the placer. Once organs are placed, I arrange an OR (Operating Room) time that is suitable for all teams coming in as well as the hospital’s OR. At that point, we are ready for organ recovery. It sounds like it happens quickly, but this process can take 24-36 hours depending on the numbers of organs being transplanted.
Q: What’s the most challenging part of your job?
A: The most challenging part of my job is the hours we invest. Some cases can run 24 hours, which is a long time to be awake and taking care of the donor and yourself! It can also be quite challenging to find a balance between home life and work. I am fortunate to have a husband and family that understands how much my job means to me, and how necessary it is to helping save lives.
Q: What’s the most rewarding part?
A: There are so many rewarding parts of my job. I truly believe that through donation we are able to offer the donor and their family an alternate ending to the nightmare (loss) that they are experiencing. Through donation, the death of a donor becomes a story of hope, and that of a hero. I am often saddened by what I see and the family’s loss. I know; however, that day or night another family is getting that lifesaving call that they have been praying for. At that point, I understand how important my job really is.
Q: What motivated you to get involved with the donation community through your position at Gift of Hope?
A: I have always felt strongly about donation, whether it be donating organs & tissues or donating blood. I feel that given the opportunity, I would help others. I want the community to understand donation, and not fear it. I feel so grateful that I am able to spread that message with firsthand knowledge.