WRTC Services

Donor Family

Recovery Services

As the federally-designated organ procurement organization (OPO) for the Washington region, WRTC is responsible for responding to every potential organ, tissue and eye donation. All hospitals are required by law to call their local OPO on every death and every imminent death. With one call to WRTC, a complex and sophisticated donation process brings together a donor, a donor family, surgical recovery and transplant teams, patients on the transplant waiting list, and ultimately patients who benefit from tissue transplants. WRTC employs as many as 20 clinical recovery coordinators whose responsibility is to:

  • handle all donor referral calls from all local hospitals in the Washington, DC, area
  • discuss organ, eye and tissue donation with families
  • manage the care of the potential donor for the best possible recovery outcomes
  • evaluate the medical suitability of prospective donors
  • provide medical data necessary to identify potential transplant recipients
  • contact the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) to find a recipient for each organ as quickly as possible
  • coordinate the recovery of organs and tissues with one or more surgical teams
  • provides non-transplantable organs and tissues for research and education

Manager of Research and Living Donation in the operating room placing
organs for transplant.

Donor Family Support

WRTC provides strong support both medically and emotionally to organ, eye and tissue donor families, living donors and transplant recipients throughout the donation process and for years afterwards. Currently WRTC supports more than 4,000 donor family members at one stage or another in their grief journey. WRTC’s Donor Family Advocacy program offers the following aftercare opportunities to its families:

  • follow-up donation outcome letters for two years
  • grief seminars and support groups
  • bereavement literature and bi-annual newsletter Lifelines
  • an annual celebration and remembrance of donors
  • a memorial quilt project
  • a high school essay scholarship
  • donor families have the opportunity to serve on a council designed to give input to WRTC about the advocacy program
  • donor families have the opportunity to join the WRTC “Friends for Life” volunteer program to spread the word in our community about the need for organ donors.

Remembrance Quilt sewer Wendy Starkey (left) leads the quilting bee to create the 15th donor remembrance quilt with donor family participants in March 2011.

Hospital Services and Professional Education

WRTC’s Hospital Services and Professional Education (HS and PE) team provides education programs for healthcare professionals at area hospitals and healthcare teaching institutions. To reach all professionals involved in the donation process (doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, technicians, patient services, etc.), WRTC collaborates in a multidisciplinary fashion within Administration, Intensive or Critical Care Units, Emergency Departments, Operating Rooms and other departments. HS and PE specialists and local hospitals partner to implement proven best practices, so that each hospital may serve the community through organ, eye and tissue donation. Specialists offer:

  • real time, on-site staff in hospitals during the donation-recovery process to support the hospital healthcare teams
  • regular, ongoing presentations at in-services, grand rounds, nursing and resident orientations, departmental meetings
  • hospital-based planning for donation awareness events
  • participation in hospital “donation committees” which advocate for the ongoing maintenance & improvement of donation processes
  • consultation and promotion of best practices to improve donation rates and meet national benchmarks for hospital performance as determined by the Department of Health & Human Services/HRSA-sponsored breakthrough collaboratives on donation and transplantation
  • data & analyses from retrospective medical record reviews for performance improvement and viewing by hospital accrediting agencies

HD 2007

Washington Hospital Center nurse Pat McCabe leads a collaborative meeting to focus on improvements in the donation processes.

Community Education

WRTC has a varied public education initiative designed to actively promote donor registration in all segments of our diverse community and increase public awareness that donation saves lives. The program includes:

  • events and presentations throughout the service area including health fairs and expos at religious institutions, schools, hospitals, DMVs/MVAs, sporting events, etc.
  • free distribution of brochures, other literature and promotional items, many specially-designed for multicultural audiences
  • public health education initiatives including seminars offering information to those waiting for organ transplants, and others with local partners such as MOTTEP, NKF and blood banks
  • training and deployment of an active volunteer program, “Friends for Life”
  • media initiatives including earned and unearned public service announcements and stories-interviews
  • WRTC’s Community Pages is our quarterly newsletter that details all of our public outreach events throughout the year

Donation Month:
living kidney donor Toni Rowdon
(left) and transplant recipient
Tony Benedi throw out the first pitch
at a Washington Nationals game




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