Name: RN Clara Hart
Posting date: 3/22/10
Stationed in: a civilian military hospital in the U.S.
Milblog: From Our Perspective
I held the hand of a dying warrior who fought death. Flown to us from the battlefield he was gravely wounded, with no chance of survival. His family, at his side every step of the way, elected to fulfill his wishes of being an organ donor. As loved ones gathered at his bedside saying final goodbyes, the OR and organ procurement team readied the operating room and started the process of organ compatibility.
No eye was dry in the ICU as he was wheeled from the room and down the hallway toward his final
surgery. In organ donation at our hospital the family has the option of going into the OR to be with the patient until they take their last breath. His family elected not to do so. After being placed gently on the operating table he was disconnected from the ventilator and life sustaining medications were turned off. The wait had begun.
Just as the “golden hour” in trauma dictates that for maximum recovery the trauma patient should receive care within an hour of injury, there is a “golden hour” in organ donation. Only it should be called "the black hour," as it is the darkest of all hours. Once totally disconnected, the patient has an hour to die before the organs become unusable.
Our fine warrior, so valiant in his career, who fought so hard in life, continued to fight in death. Disconnected, he started to breathe on his own. Sixty minutes never felt so long as we watched his agonal breathing become stronger. When we reached the end of that blackest hour we gazed at each other, once again in tears, hardly able to bear what we knew came next.
This family who had already said goodbye once must now say goodbye again...
I have only one thing to say: Go and read the rest of this one here.. Then thank God for such dedicated nurses who walk these journeys with our warriors and their families.
H/T Thunder Run