650 people across the State of Oklahoma are currently waiting on a lifesaving transplant. Across the nation, more than 106-thousand people need one. Meanwhile, thousands more are waiting on lifesaving and healing tissue transplants.

“So it’s so important to become an organ donor for those reasons and just to give back to these patients,” said Tory Schlitte, the OR Nurse Manager at CCMH.

She said not all people who sign up to be an organ donor can donate. According to Life Share Oklahoma, only 3 in 1,000 people die in a way that allows for an organ donation to take place. Even if they pass in a way where their organs can be given to someone else, they have to undergo tests.

“When it comes to that point, they’ll do multiple tests to make sure that they’re viable, that the organs are going to be able to be donated to other patients,” Schlitte said.

She said if the organs pass the test, they call the OR and schedule a time for the retrieval.

“And our team gets ready,” she said. “We work closely with ICU, if they’re in ICU, or if they’re in a separate room in PACU, and whenever they’re ready, we’ll go back into the OR.”

Schlitte said they’ve recently made some changes at the hospital. They’re now calling the procedure Patient Donation Cases instead of patient harvest. She said they want to make sure they’re remembering the patient throughout the process.

“And putting the patient first, appreciating them for their gifts, and valuing all the lives that they’re going to save because they can save up to four patients with the organs that they donate,” Schlitte said.

She said she knows this is a difficult time for the family, and they want to be there for them.

“We want to be there for those families when they make those difficult decisions and give them a room to go to, listen to music, and spend every moment they have until it’s time to do the organ retrieval,” she said. “Before we do our retrieval process in the OR, we do take a moment of silence just to honor that patient for the gift that they’re giving.”

If you’d like to become an organ donor, you can register while renewing your driver’s license, visit LifeShareRegistry.org to sign up, or call 800-826-life.