Bluewater Health's Dr. Michel Haddad serves as Trillium Gift of Life's hospital donation physician

The Sarnia Observer | Tyler Kula

There's a lot that goes into organ donation in hospital, says Bluewater Health's chief doctor.

“You need OR (operating room) time, you need a transplant team to come in to be able to procure the organ successfully, you need to be able to maintain the body, the organs, while the patient has been declared brain dead,” said Dr. Michel Haddad, the Sarnia-Lambton hospital group's interim chief of staff.

“It's not as simple as 'somebody wants to donate; here we go,'” he said. “The whole hospital has to have a culture of buying into it and supporting the whole process.”

Haddad is at the fore of that culture shift at Bluewater Health, having served as the Trillium Gift of Life hospital donation physician there for the past year.

The new role, recently formalized in 50 hospitals across Ontario, is about ensuring no opportunity is missed for organ donation, said Trillium spokesperson Jennifer Long.

In practical terms, that means doctors like Haddad have been leading education efforts for doctors and nurses to make sure they know what to do if it looks like a patient is going to die.

“We do all we can to save a patient,” Haddad said.

But whenever anyone is dying in hospital, despite best efforts to save them, it's provincially mandated that Trillium Gift of Life be informed so they can send a team to see the family and talk about organ and tissue donation, he said, noting medical staff don't get involved in that discussion because it would be a conflict of interest. Continue reading