Emotions run high in a family when their patient is declared as brain-dead. It is a difficult time for them. They are under stress with the bad news that they have received. And at the same time, the organ transplant coordinators have to approach them. It is not easy to speak with the family in their time of grief. But a transplant coordinator has to find a way to reach out to them in this time.
It is crucial for the organ transplant coordinator to maintain their composure. They have to remain patient even though they are at the receiving end of the brain-dead patient’s relative. The coordinator has to spark a conversation with them in order to inform them about the organ donation process.
Shubhangi Pokle, a 42-year-old organ transplant coordinator at Care Hospital in Nagpur, Maharashtra has spent most days dealing with situations like this. Although she has few years of experience, she has managed to learn a lot in a short amount of time.
Shubhangi has been working as an organ transplant coordinator since the last three years.
While speaking to My Medical Mantra about what put her on this path, she said, “I started working as a receptionist, and now, I am working as an organ transplant coordinator. This journey has taught me a lot. I started counselling patients from 2017 onwards. Earlier, I used to visit villages, to spread awareness on eye donation. So, when I got an opportunity, I started doing this job.”
Organ transplant coordinator are also human beings. They too have emotions like a normal person. But, they have to keep their composure and be patient so an innocent life can be saved.
Shubhangi says, “While counselling the family, in the back of the mind, I always think about how the family will react. The fear is always there. But, as an organ transplant coordinator, we have to keep our aside and carry on with work. We can’t allow our emotions to overpower us. It is our job to explain the entire procedure to the family, and to get rid of the misconceptions about organ donation.”
Organ donation process is a complex one. So, the organ transplant coordinator has to make sure that they spend as much time as possible with the family so that they could convince them.
While narrating her experience Shubhangi further added, “I am tensed, whether the donation will take place or not. In one such case, the family was sure and they had consented for donating organs. The patient was on ventilator for three days. We were ready for the organ retrieval procedure. But, at the last moment the family denied to donate organs. But, rather than getting discouraged, we have to keep working, so, an innocent life and be saved.”
Shubhangi added that she has grown with each setback and retraced her steps on what she could have done to convince the family.
“Every donation is a different experience for me. I learn a lot from each donation process. I have accepted this as a challenge, as I like my work. At the beginning, we start to inform them about eye donation, and eventually after looking at the families responses, we move further,” she concluded.