Because we have only one hour to decide if the organ is right for you,
including the time it takes to locate you, it is important to be organized
and ready to leave as soon as we call.
Here are some steps you can take to make sure you can leave home on a
Pack your Bag
It's a good idea to pack a bag for the hospital in advance. Keep an updated
list of all the medications you take. You may want to include personal
items such as your toothbrush, comb and brush, a wrap-around bathrobe,
slippers, deodorant, and other items that will make your stay more
comfortable; paper and pen; reading materials; and a small amount of cash.
Please do not bring jewelry, large amounts of cash, numerous credit cards,
or anything else of value. You will need a phone card or credit card to
make long distance telephone calls while you are in the hospital (unless
you call collect). You may also bring and use your own cell phone.
Make two Lists
Make a list of any other items you think you will need after your surgery,
and another list of the people who need to be called when your organ
becomes available. Tuck both into your bag, and when you check into the
hospital, you can give the lists to a loved one, who can bring the items
you need and call family and friends.
Have Insurance Handy
Always carry your health insurance card with you. That way you will have
it, without searching high and low, when you get the call to come to the
Plan your Route
If you are driving to the hospital, choose a driver who will be available
when the time comes. You may even want to choose another person as a
back-up driver. Map out your route to the hospital. Have an alternate route
ready in case there are traffic hold-ups or other problems with the roads.
Verify Flights and Airlines
If you are flying to the hospital, know the flight schedules before you get
the call to come to the hospital. Verify available flights frequently.
Check more than one airline in case there is a delay or cancellation on the
airline you plan to use. Make sure you have someone to drive you to the
airport on very short notice. Decide ahead of time how you will get from
the airport to the hospital - by taxi or rental car?
Consider the Children
If you have children, decide who will care for them when you go to the
hospital and during your hospital stay. Talk to them about the plan before
you get the call to come in, so they understand what will happen. Our
psychologist and social workers can help you talk to your children about
transplantation in a way that they will understand and that will be most
helpful to them.
Choose a Health Care Proxy
Do you have a health care proxy - a person you have chosen to make
decisions about your medical care if you are unable to do so yourself?
Think about who you want to choose and then talk to that person in depth.
Be sure this trusted person is comfortable with the responsibility and is
aware of, and will follow through with, your wishes about your medical
care. If you do not already have a health care proxy form on file with the
hospital, you can sign one when you arrive for your transplant and give it
to your doctors.
When the Call Comes
When our transplant team calls and asks you to come to the hospital:
Ask about any medications you should take (or not take) before you come
to the hospital.
Don't eat or drink anything after we call you. If you do eat or drink,
it could delay the surgery while the anesthesiologists wait for your
stomach to empty. Putting you to sleep for surgery with a full stomach
is dangerous and is not done except in extreme emergencies.
Keep in mind that you could possibly be sent home again if the
transplant team discovers a problem with the new organ or finds that
you have a new medical problem that could affect your transplant
Get to the hospital safely.
The transplant team member who calls will tell you where to go when you get
to the hospital.