Donor Referrals


Organ & Tissue Donor Referrals


Hospitals are required to report each death or imminent death.

State legislation known as PA Act 102 of 1994 served as the template for a federal initiative making this referral process a nationwide requirement.

When there is potential for tissue donation, the donor referral coordinator will call the potential donor’s family to discuss donation options. If there is potential for organ donation, one of CORE’s organ procurement coordinators will come to the hospital to speak with the potential donor’s next-of-kin.


By law, organ procurement coordinators must speak to the next-of-kin of all potential donors. If the potential donor has already made the decision to donate on his or her driver’s license, state identification or donor card, this is a legally binding contract. However, CORE will still speak with the family to relay their loved one’s decision.

Our highly trained organ procurement coordinators will work as a team with the hospital staff to explain the process to the family and offer the option of donation. The situation is handled with care and sensitivity. During this meeting, it is important for both the family and the organ procurement coordinator to have the support of the hospital staff.

To report a death or imminent death, call CORE at 800-DONORS-7 (800-366-6777). The lines are answered 24 hours a day. When you call CORE, you will speak with a donor referral coordinator who will ask you preliminary questions to determine the suitability of the potential donor.

Call when:
1. Patient is on ventilator.
2. End of life/comfort care measure is being considered/family meeting planned.

Or when any of the following three cues are met:
1. Patient is unresponsive to verbal and noxious stimuli.
2. Pupils are non-reactive to light stimuli.
3. Absence of cough/gag with ETT suctioning.
4. Absence of spontaneous respirations on ventilator.

Please follow protocol:
1. Call without mentioning CORE or donation to the family.
2. Refer all deaths and imminent deaths regardless of age or diagnosis. CORE will determine initial medical suitability.
3. If initially suitable, CORE will go to hospital to consult with the medical team about donation.
4. CORE and hospital designee will approach the family together.