Historically, Organ Allocation has been performed at donors’ bedsides throughout the country. In the last 10-15 years, many Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) have organized allocation centers where allocation may be done in a centralized area. However, most OPOs kept allocating thoracic organs at bedside. In 2015, LAORA’s leadership decided to create an Organ Allocation Center to perform both abdominal and thoracic allocation. This change allowed the Donor Management Coordinators to focus solely on managing donors and improving communication between the OPO and transplant centers. Performing allocation from a centralized location has improved organ placement times and increased the number of organs placed. Due to improved donor management, the OPO has been able to place 16.7 percent more transplanted organs.
Beginning in February 2015, LAORA staffed its new OAC with five new hires with clinical backgrounds. Their extensive six-week training included shadowing Surgical Recovery Coordinators (SRCs) and Donor Management Coordinators (DMCs), and lectures in both thoracic and abdominal anatomy and physiology. Training also included determining the quality of hearts and lungs via Echocardiogram, ABG results, EKG reading Chest X-Rays/CT scans, and bronchoscopies. The team also learned the regulations and standards set for OPOs by their regulatory bodies. They were considered fully trained after an additional month of extensively supervised allocation. The department launched in April 2015.