I was surprised.
We had a patient who had an extensive family history of brain aneurysms in all male family members at or before age 60. This was a well-educated man who decided to make the most of his time. He retired at 55, took his wife and their life savings and bought an RV. This happy couple spent the next 9 years RVing all over the US. They spent time in the places that they wanted to be and enjoyed every minute.
One morning he had a terrible headache and collapsed. His CT showed a huge aneurysm had ruptured and there was blood all through his brain. There would be no chance at a meaningful recovery. This man and his wife had discussed things previously, and he wanted to donate his organs (if possible). The family had decided to take him off of life support, allow him to die in peace, and then allow LIFENET to harvest kidneys and liver (these are what can be harvested AFTER a patient's heart has stopped).
This is where I come in.
This was my patient. The OR and side room were open and waiting. I, along with the chaplain, Palliative Care MD (who is my new hero) and his family, would take him to the side room in the OR. Once there we gave him both pain and sedation meds, (although he was already unconscious and unresponsive) and removed his breathing tube. The chaplain and one of his sons said a prayer. The family then had Toby Keith music turned on, sat around the patient's bedside and started telling stories. The stories were the "good ones" that get told at family get togethers. They laughed, joked with each other and held his hands. When he died it was completely peaceful. I was lucky to be there.
After the family left the room we wheeled him into the OR and the recovery team were able to harvest both kidneys and his liver. The Special Forces Medic got a great anatomy lesson that night. (I got to stay and watch as well).
After all the violence that I see in my day to day work life, this was a beautiful thing.