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Cooling the body

Please note:  This information is intended for medical professionals. If you reached this page by mistake, please return to our home page.

You play a critical role in preserving donation opportunities when your patient is going to be a tissue or tissue and eye donor.  Cooling the patient is the most important thing you can do.  If your hospital has a cooled morgue, we recommend you move the patient there as soon as possible and preferably within 12 hours of the time of death.  It’s also important to note the time that the patient arrived in the morgue so that our donation specialists can accurately document this.

The American Association of Tissue Bank standards along with FDA regulations mandate that if tissue recovery cannot take place within 15 hours of death, the body must be cooled.  LifeSource will only ask you to cool the body when absolutely necessary.

If your hospital does not have a cooled morgue, we suggest that you place ice on the patient to adequately cool them until the recovery team arrives.  The donation specialist will work closely with you over the telephone to explain how to complete this procedure.

Instructions

1.  Obtain 40# of ice from ice machine and fill four large plastic bags with ~10# each; tie shut.

2.  Remove clothing and place patient in a body bag.  You may wish to place the patient in two bags, one inside the other.

3.  Place a light covering or sheet over the patient.

4.  Place both hands on the abdomen with one bag of ice on each hand.

5.  Arrange the bags of ice on the torso and legs of the patient, two on each side.

6.  If eye donation is pending, partially fill gloves with ice adequately place bags over the eyes, ensuring that the lids are closed.  Elevate the head 30 degrees.

7.  Zip the bag closed and place blankets over the patient to insulate the area.

8.  Turn down the room temperature if possible.

9.  Check the ice every 2 hours and replace if necessary.

10.  Call 1.800.247.4273 with any questions about this process.