An Intensivist is a Doctor who has specialised in Intensive Care Medicine.  If you are going to be a transplant recipient, the Intensivists will be looking after you in the Department of Critical Care Medicine [DCCM].  The Intensivists also have the responsibility of caring for seriously ill patients, who may become donors.  

New Zealand legislation that impacts on their job includes the Human Tissues Act 1964 s3 and the Human Tissue Amendment Act 1989 s3.

The Intensivists Role in Organ Donation

The primary responsibility of an Intensivist is to do their absolute utmost to restore quantity and quality of life to their patients.  If that is not possible, then preserving the dignity of the patient and their family is their next responsibility.  To do this, they undertake the following:

  • Communicate with the family frequently, honestly and openly about the patient's prognosis, the process involved and the family's choices;

  • Provide full, unbiased and timely information about organ donation;

  • Offer full support to the family by providing adequate time to understand and accept death, provide a private room for family discussions, and provide adequate time for the family to spend with the patient;

  • Support the family in making a decision that is freely made, and which the family can live with in the future.

  • Best practice, for Intensivists, does not mean achieving the family's agreement to organ donation, but supporting the family in making the decision that is "right" for them at that time.