DonateLife Victoria Gallery
DonateLife Victoria Donation Specialist Nursing Coordinators, Nicole Gauthier and Sarah Hawthorne ensure the final logistics are in place before all treatments are removed. An estimated 100-120 people are involved in any one donation case.
Donation after Circulatory Death (DCD) must be conducted under tight timeframes. Here, surgeons and theatre staff wait for confirmation about whether the donation surgery will proceed.
Intensive Care Nurse Lauren Windsor and Doctor Scott May tenderly care for a patient in the final stages of her life. Great care is taken to ensure patients and their families’ wishes are respected. Amongst immense sadness, organ and tissue donation provides hope for those on the transplant waiting list.
A very human and intimate moment captured in the final moments of life in the ICU. Only one per cent of people who die in a hospital are medically suitable for organ donation. Tissue donation has a wider category.
For donation after circulatory death (DCD), timing for donation is crucial because oxygenated blood is no longer flowing to the organs. Here, staff are preparing to take the patient down for surgery soon after death.
Members of the Victoria Police Transport Unit quickly usher an organ, packed in ice, to a waiting police car. With sirens on, they will escort the organ to the airport where it will be flown interstate for transplant. Once outside the body, organs have a limited lifespan, a matter of hours before they are no longer suitable for transplantation.
At the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, Dr Bruno Trindade prepare the cornea specifically for the recipient. Surgeons will look to make sure the donor tissue will overlap with the recipients own cornea and separate the layers of tissue needed for the recipient (there are five layers). This photo shows Dr Trindade removing the layer ready for transplant.
Before all surgeries, the entire surgical team stops and reviews all consents forms and the information about the procedure to ensure the right surgery is conducted with the right patient.
Eyes are one of the most complex organs in the body. Dr Bruno Trindade's sharp eyes, powers of concentration and steady hands ensure the delicate surgery is performed smoothly.
When Dr Trindade has removed the recipient's own corneal layer he is ready to transfer the donor layer to the surgical site. He positions it, keeps it under appropriate conditions and then secures it into position.
When surgery is complete, the theatre team allow the cornea to settle and keep it moist. Eye surgery is performed in sterile conditions in highly technical environments.
About two hours after surgery, when the recipient's anaesthetic has started to wear off, Dr Bruno Trindade examines the eye to check it is recovering as planned. Recipients are monitored periodically over 12 month to make sure the tissue has been accepted by the recipient's own body and not rejected the donated tissue.
The transplant laboratory stores frozen blood samples from all patients waiting for a transplant. These samples are ready to be tested when the donor blood arrives to check if there is a match.
After receiving the call there could be a suitable donor liver, Nick waits anxiously for news that the transplant is going ahead. Significant blood and tissue testing is conducted before transplant to ensure the donor organ is the best match for the recipient and is healthy.
Nick and his mum Carole wait for news from the medical team that the liver transplant will go ahead. Sometimes waiting list patients will be called in, but because of medical constraints the donor organ may not be suitable for transplant. They will then go back on the waiting list, hoping for another call.
Anesthetist Louise Ellard monitors the patients vitals as theatre staff prepare for the liver transplant surgery.
The donor liver is carefully wheeled into the theatre rooms before surgeons will remove it from the esky and prepare it for transplant.
Captured through the curtains – A intensive Care Nurse monitors the progress of the patient whilst providing comfort in the final minutes of the patient’s life.
A sample of some of the surgical equipment used during transplant surgery.
A donated cornea is stored in a preservation medium and kept at body temperature. All donor and recipient checks are confirmed before tissue is transferred to the operating room.
Surgeons work on the major veins of the donor liver, preparing it for transplant so it is ready as soon as the recipient’s own liver is removed.
This image shows the removal of the recipient's original liver. Surgeons have detached all the arteries and veins from the adjacent organs. As of May 2016 there were 141 Australians on the waiting list for a liver. There were 1034 Australians waiting for a kidney.
Over a period of 10 or more hours surgeons and the theatre team work almost continuously with very fine detail and concentration to ensure the surgery is a success.
Midway through the liver transplant, Surgeons and theatre staff keep a close watch on the progress of the surgery.
Here surgeons are inspecting the donor organ before transplanting it into the recipient.
Surgeons use many different finely placed stitches to transplant the donor liver into the recipient.
Each spot on the specialised plastic tray is a miniature test tube where blood from the waiting list patient is mixed with donor blood and reagents to test for compatibility. This is called cross matching. The scientists check the results which are sent to the transplant center.
Surgeons and theatre staff work through the evening as they continue with the liver transplant. Television screens at the back of the room help provide closer detail of the progress of the surgery for other staff in the theatre.
A wider image of the activity throughout the liver transplant surgery. Theatre staff are surrounding the table on the left which has the sterilised instruments, with the table on the right the already used equipment.
Lead surgeon, Professor Bob Jones, works on the donor liver during surgery at The Austin Hospital's Liver Transplant Unit.
Professor Bob Jones (right) is a study of concentration as he leads liver transplant surgery.
Professor Bob Jones, the head of the Austin Hospital's Liver Transplant Unit.
Roughly three-quarters of the way through the transplant procedure, Professor Bob Jones overlooks his surgical team as they continue the process of attaching the new donor liver to the recipient. The finer details of the surgery can be seen in the television behind.
The process of stitching the recipient begins after many hours of surgery.
Austin Liver Transplant Surgeons put the finishing touches to the stitches and tubes that drain bile from the new liver. Once surgery is complete the patient is wheeled back to the Intensive Care Unit to begin recovery.
Liver recipient Nick recovers in the ICU two days after liver transplant surgery. This is Nick's first meal since the operation.
Theatre staff prepare Nick after liver transplant surgery before being transferred to the Intensive Care Unit.
Fiona received a new liver seven years ago. She has regular checkups at the post-transplant liver clinic at the Austin Hospital.
Elaine and daughter Narelle receive a pre-transplant briefing from Professor Bob Jones in the Liver Clinic at the Austin Hospital.
At 4.30am Nick’s parents Carole and Phil get an update about how the surgery went.
4.30am. After working a full day and then through the night, Anesthetist, Louise Ellard accompanies Nick back to the Intensive Care unit to handover to ICU staff and begin the long recovery from the transplant.