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The Intensive Care Unit is the scene of innumerable battles between life and death. Life triumphs at times, death at others. The doctors working there have to be ever prepared to deal with grieving families who have a critically injured or a brain dead relative.

The concept of brain death is relatively new. Brain death is extremely traumatic to the family of the patient. There is always the question, “Why did it have to happen to my father or mother or son or daughter?”. Feelings of intense grief, anger, despair and frustration run high in the family. It is during such a situation that a Transplant Co–Ordinator steps in. The Transplant Co–ordinator explains to the family, the meaning of brain death, the tests that are done, the specialists involved, details of what organs can be removed and the fact that something positive can come out of something so negative and tragic.

Transplant Co–ordinator has to convince the family to consent for donation. Without this all-important foundation being laid, there is no question of the transplant being performed.Every family can decide whether to donate or not. The fact that they do have a choice must be explained to them. The co-ordinator has to be sensitive and compassionate. He must also communicate every detail of the concept of brain death and organ donation. The Transplant Co-ordinator must be determined in obtaining consent.

Mohan Foundation (Multi–Organ Harvesting Aid Network) Chennai is based in Sri. Ramachandra Medical Institute, Porur.