Wrapped in Mourning
The Gift of Life and Donor Family Trauma
By Sue Holtkamp
Routledge – 2002 – 192 pages
Series: Series in Trauma and Loss
Based on 15 years of experience working with organ procurement organizations and donor families, Wrapped in Mourning addresses the heretofore unexplored subject of organ donor family trauma. This book covers the issues surrounding organ donation, including the history of organ transplantation, how organs are procured for transplantation, as well as the medical procedure itself. Each issue is explored with regards to its impact upon donor families. Ways to reduce grief, prevent problems, and increase the benefits of donating organs for the donating family are also discussed.
"Contrasting the joy of recipient families and the positive outcomes of organ donation described by the media enthralled with the wonders of medical technology, Wrapped in Mourning: The Gift of Life and Organ Donation Family Trauma presents a seldom acknowledged aspect of transplantation. As one family member states, 'I'm talking about the darker side of organ donation. It's much more complicated than any news story can convey.'." -- Death Studies, May 2003
"Without question, this book is destined to be a classic for those involved in all aspects of the organ donation process. … If the information in this work is comprehended, and its guidance followed, donor families will be exceptionally well-served." -- Therese A. Rando, Ph.D., BCETS, BCBT, The Institute for the Study of and Treatment of Loss, Warwick, RI
"This wonderful book provides a prespective that is not often seen -- how the donor family is affected by donation. It will be a wonderful tool in the field of organ transplantation and help professionals understand the effects, both positive and negative, on the donor family.
Jennifer Y. Ralston, MSW, Barnes-Jewish Hospital."
"As a hospital chaplain who has witnessed the miracles that can accompany an organ donation, the ill-prepared and grief driven dilemmas and approaches of family members and the generally less than adequate approaches of the professionals called on to step in, this book is a wise informer on these issues and will particularly help professionals feel more comfortable in walking with people through these discussions and also doing more advocacy in the community long before the crisis time warranting decision-making." -- Resources Hotline, Vol. 6, No. 5
Preface. The History and Context of Organ Donation. The Early Days of Transplantation. Primary Process Thinking. Cultural Issues. Religious Issues. The Ethics of Organ Donation. Organ Procurement and the Organ Donor Family. Becoming a Donor. The Process of Procurement: Organ Procurement Organizations; Procurement Coordinators. Religious, Cultural & Ethnic Values: Impact on Procurement. The Language of Organ Procurement. Other Procurement Issues and their Impact: Allocation of Organs; Rejected or Unused Organs; Stress Related to Timing; Billing Errors; Letters from the Procurement Coordinator; Donor Family-Recipient Contact; Benefits of Organ Donation for the Family. The Organ Donor's Family and the Health Care Professional. The Organ Donor Family and the Hospital Experience. The Organ Donor Family. The Needs of the Donor's Family. Ongoing Support. Dimensions of Compassion and Kindness. Trauma-Driven Grief and the Donor Family. Trauma-Driven Grief and the Organ Donor Family. Risk Factors for Post Traumatic Stress Sudden Loss. Preventability. Violation and Mutilation. Multiple Loss. Parental Loss of a Child. Personal Encounter with Death. Family Dynamics. Family as a Healing Source. The Organ Donor Family - Recipient Relationship. The Donor Family's Need to Know. Linking Objects and the Donor Family. Donor Family -Recipient Communication: History; Current Trends. Risk Factors Related to Lack of Communication. Risk Factors Related to Donor Family-Recipient Contact. Therapeutic Concerns and Donor Family Trauma. Working Through Trauma and Loss: Working Assumptions Regarding Trauma and Loss. The Therapeutic Relationship. The Goals of Therapy. Themes of Traumatic Stress. Frequent Themes of Donor Family Trauma-Driven Grief: Multiple Loss; Parental Loss of a Child; Confusion Associated with Brain Death; Grief Avoidance Behaviors; Issues Related to the Recipient. An Unending Adventure. Trauma, Neurological Death, Donation and Meaning. Donor Family-Recipient Contact. The Power of Prevention. An Unending Search for Knowledge: The Need for Further Study; Problems Attending the Study of Donor Family Grief; Empirical Reductionism vs. Qualitative Observations; Caregivers.