Questions and answers about organ donation

How and where it happens

What is a donor hospital?

A donor hospital is a hospital that is approved by the Board of Health for the withdrawal of organs for transplant, and where it is medically suitable for the extraction of organs. We have 26 such hospitals in Norway at present that cover the whole country. On the map you can see an overview of these hospitals or click on the complete list.



How does it work? A possible scenario

  • A person is exposed to an accident, thrombosis or cerebral haemorrhage.
  • Paramedics are called and the patient is transported to hospital. Paramedics are focused on savings lives – they’re not looking for donor cards.
  • Doctors at the hospital try to save the patient. Donation is not yet applicable.
  • Doctors see that the patient cannot be saved. Now, doctors begin to think about donation. This can occur a few hours to days after the accident. Normal procedure means that relatives are contacted in certain serious cases.
  • The patient dies but circulation to organs is maintained with a respirator.
  • The donor doctor asks relatives if they know what of the deceased thoughts towards organ donation, the donor card may also help them. The wishes of the deceased will apply.
  • The donor team from Rikshospitalet, Oslo University Hospital (OUS) will be contacted and will retrieve the organ(s).
  • Transplantation is conducted at the transplant hospitals in Norway: Rikshospitalet, Oslo University Hospital (OUS). Up to seven people can be saved from one instance such as this.
  • After donation is complete, a normal funeral can be carried out.

Can organs from Norway be sent/transported to other countries?

If it so happens that organs that are available at the time do not match any of the patients on the transplant list in Norway, then an offer is made to transplant hospitals in Scandinavia and Europe. In the same way that countries may make the same offer to Norway, especially from Scandinavia. In previous years Norway has been offered more organ donations from abroad than we had have to offer, and in other years the opposite has been true. Norway cooperates with two organizations: Scandiatransplant in Aalborg (the Nordic countries) and Eurotransplant in Leiden in the Netherlands (Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, and the Benelux countries).


Will a body look different after organ donation?

No. The withdrawal of organs takes place in the same way as an operation. The surgical team treat the deceased with respect and ensure that it bears minimal signs of organ donation surgery. After the surgery, the hospital cares for the body following standard procedures. After the donation, the families will have the opportunity to say goodbye in the normal way.


Does my Norwegian donor card work in other countries?

There are ‘transplant laws’ and these are applicable in the country where a person dies. The most important thing is that the people closest to you know your thoughts about organ donation. Wherever you are in the world, your next-of-kin will always be contacted. The wishes of the deceased will be respected in most countries.