Donor groups, coroners at odds on organ donation bill

YORK DISPATCH | Margareta Cambest
Lisa Benkert shows a photo of her son, Jordan, who committed suicide in 2011. The boy's organs went on to save four people's lives across the country.(Photo: Katherine Ranzenberger)
The last time Pennsylvania updated its organ recovery procedures, most people still had Blockbuster memberships.

In 1994, legislators enacted Act 102 mandating that Pennsylvania residents be educated and encouraged to become organ-and-tissue donors. Under the act, hospitals were required to notify organ-procurement organizations, such as the Center for Organ Recovery and Education and the Gift of Life Donor Program, about potential donors so that families could make the decision to donate.

More than two decades later, state legislators are looking to update Act 102 to bring it in line with acts passed by 47 other states. However, the Pennsylvania State Coroners Association is wary of its consequences.

Through HB 30 and its counterpart in the Senate, legislators look to make the process of turning over organs easier for organ-procurement organizations — hours matter when it comes to matching a donor with a recipient — but in a letter to the editor submitted by the Pennsylvania State Coroners Association, representatives say the legislation would drastically impact the ability to gather sufficient evidence after a homicide or wrongful death, especially in the case of drug deaths. Continue reading
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