Trillium Gift of Life Network engaging Ontario Paramedics to save and enhance lives via tissue donation and transplantation.
Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN) Human Tissue Referral Program
TGLN, Ontario’s agency for organ and tissue donation, has recently launched a new referral program whereby paramedics are trained to identify and report deceased persons after termination of resuscitation, in an effort to increase the number of human tissue donors in Ontario.
TGLN identified the need for a paramedic referral program, for deaths that occur outside of hospitals, in order to increase tissue donation, specifically corneas, bone, skin, and heart valves. TGLN determined that paramedics, as first responders, would be the ideal partners to record appropriate medical information and relay pertinent details to TGLN’s 24-hour provincial resource staff.
Launched in April of 2017, with the United Counties of Prescott and Russell paramedic service, paramedics are trained to accurately identify and report eligible persons who have died in the last 12 hours. If medical suitability exists for donation, TGLN will approach families of potential donors to discuss donation, and coordinate recovery for consented cases.
These cases are exclusive to people who die outside of a hospital and generally are investigated by a coroner. Investigating coroners and/or forensic pathologists will discuss relevant medical details with TGLN staff, including cause of death, whether a post-mortem examination will be performed, and what tissue(s) may be authorized for donation. The paramedic referral program is supported by the Office of the Chief Coroner and Ontario Forensic Pathology Service, and is an extension of TGLN’s coroner referral program that launched in August 2015.
This program is unique to Ontario and most of Canada. Similar programs do exist in American jurisdictions. This initiative has provided encouraging results and TGLN plans to expand to other paramedic services.
Interested in becoming a TGLN employee?
TGLN offers a variety of full-time, part-time, and casual recovery positions based throughout Ontario for ocular tissue recovery. In addition, there are positions in multi-tissue recovery that are based out of downtown Toronto, with the team responding throughout the province for surgical recovery of bones, heart valves, and skin.
TGLN recovery staff primary responsibilities include:
• Assessing the medical suitability of potential donors.
• Surgically recovering corneas, bones, heart valves and skin.
• Screening, evaluating, packaging and transporting tissue.
• Performing quality control functions related to the tissue, supplies, and relevant equipment.
TGLN is proud to employ multidisciplinary recovery staff that possess a variety of skills and knowledge. Some of these competencies include:
• Educational background in health and/or biological sciences.
• Ability to work independently and collaboratively as part of a team.
• Ability to handle the physical and emotional demands of the position.
• Good hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and surgical conscience.
• Strong command of the English language with excellent written and oral communication skills.
• Ability to work a variety of shifts, including days, nights, and weekends.
For those that are hired to recovery tissue for TGLN, you will start your career with their in-house training program. Ocular recovery training involves four days in Toronto and 15 shifts with a preceptor. Multi-tissue recovery training includes a six-week program.
Anyone interested in working for TGLN should visit the career section of their website http://www.giftoflife.on.ca/en/ or their Workopolis career section: https://www.workopolis.com/hire360/trillium-gift-of-life/en/ for any available postings.