20. How long does the donation take?

From the time of brain death to the time the body is released to the funeral home can range from 6 to 24 hours depending on the circumstances. The donation process involves discussing donation with the family, interviewing the family about the potential donor's health history and completing and signing the consent forms, and the donation surgery. The surgery itself usually takes about four to six hours if all organs are donated. If fewer organs are donated, this time may be somewhat shorter. If tissues are also donated, several additional hours in the operating room may be required after organ donation surgery is completed.

The numbers of staff and logistics involved in just one donation are very complex. Since donation surgery teams may be flying in from several far-flung locations, there is also a flurry of phone calls, medical tests to complete and review, and medical staff to consult, etc. The organ procurement organization team and all of the surgical teams know that the family wants to move on with the funeral arrangements and everyone tries to keep that in mind while also ensuring that the maximum number of organs that are suitable can be donated.

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