CADILLAC -- A local family is looking for answers.
When their loved one suddenly died, they agreed to donate his organs and tissue, something they say he wanted. In the end his final wishes weren't followed and they want to know why.
"I want to know that people who check a box on their driver’s license and families who are trying to honor those wishes can have security knowing it will be taken care of," says a family member who wants to remain anonymous.
Richard Meyer had a heart attack in December and died at Mercy Hospital Cadillac. Family members were contacted by Gift of Life, the state's designated organ and tissue recovery organization, and asked if the family had considered donating any usable tissue and organs.
"Yes please, whatever you can use please take that. That is what he wanted; he had a life of service and helping people. Taking care of everybody is something he was proud of long before it was coming." The family member says.
Several days went by and the procedure was not done. The family says they decided they had waited long enough and a funeral was held.
"The issue is that they took the time to speak with his wife on the phone during the grieving process. She was trying to honor his final wishes they robbed his family of being able to honor his wishes and memories." The family member says.
3,000 people are on an organ transplant list in Michigan right now, so why weren't Meyer's tissues and organs used? Gift of Life would not comment specifically on this case because of HIPPA Laws. The organization did tell 7&4 News what families can generally expect the process to be like.
Tim Makinen, the Director of Communication for Gift of Life says, "Tissue donations are recovered within 24 hours. You can't go a lot longer than that or tissues won't be viable for transplant."
He says the process can be complicated, the organization works between hospitals and donor families.
"Lab tests need to be done, making sure the donors are compatible with those who need the transplant, timing issues, there are a lot of logistics." says Makinen