A reader asked me that question: Is Anesthesia used during organ retrieval? What's the answer?
Is anesthesia used on organ donors during organ retrieval? Or is it assumed that no anesthetics are required as the donor is already presumed to be 'brain dead'? I want to sign my organ donor card, I really do. Just can't help thinking about this grim possibility of being aware/feeling what is happening.
That's a great question. I didn't know the answer, so I called them and asked them. The answer is no, they do not use anesthetic gases during organ retrieval during organ retrieval, unless the anesthesiologist has any concerns that the patient is anything other than brain dead.
By definition, brain death has no ability to process pain. While I've personally never been brain dead, and no one that has can ever come back and tell you that they felt pain as the surgeon cut out their kidneys, you can be rest assured that brain death buys you a very peaceful organ recovery and your gift of life to others will be forever remembered. I wouldn't not sign your organ card for fear of waking up and feeling pain during extraction of your organs. It's just not going to happen. Unless you find yourself in bathtub in Mexico with a giant scar on your flank and a major case of amnesia. Then you might feel some pain.