Organ and Tissue Donation

While everything is always done to save and maintain life, it is unfortunately unavoidable that some patients do not survive. The assessment of brain death must be made by a doctor who is not involved in the transplant. This usually happens within the framework of intensive care hospitalisation. Once this diagnosis has been established in accordance with very strict criteria, organ donation can be considered. In Switzerland, every individual is free to decide whether or not to be a donor and to record this decision on his/her donor card. Ideally, the patient should also have informed his/her family and loved ones of the choice that he/she has made. Nationwide, around a hundred donors are recorded per year, including six or seven in Valais Hospital.

At Valais Hospital, organ removal is carried out in Sion in the surgery block. It is carried out by qualified staff dispatched to the site by university centres, in cooperation with specialist staff at Valais Hospital. The transplant itself is carried out in the university centres.

Valais Hospital has a local coordinator for organ and tissue donation, who is also responsible for continuing training and for quality assurance. One of this coordinator’s main tasks is to improve the identification of potential donors in order to avoid situations where, with all the right conditions applying, a person who has consented to organ donation dies without the organs being removed. The coordinator ensures that the will of the deceased person is complied with.

In Switzerland, one person dies every three days due to the shortage of organs. And the waiting list for kidney, liver, heart or lung recipients in particular contains around a thousand names.