Panel OKs organ donor law update
HARRISBURG – Legislation intended to make more human organs available for transplant recently won approval from a Senate committee but faces continued debate down the road.
The measure sponsored by Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, R-12, Willow Grove, would update a state organ donor law that has been on the books for nearly 20 years.
Greenleaf and bill advocates argue the law needs updating because more than 8,000 people are on the waiting list for transplants in Pennsylvania and for many, time is running out. About 500 die each year before transplants are found, they say.
“This legislation would help to educate the public of the importance of organ donation, and through the use of best clinical practices, would maximize the number or organs available for transplant,” Greenleaf said.
The bill approved recently by the Judiciary Committee would mandate training about organ donation at medical and nursing schools and education about donor options at high schools and colleges. It also requires that organs be recovered in a hospital setting.
Some statewide law enforcement groups think the bill could impede official investigations into the cause of death.
The bill as currently written clarifies that a coroner retains authority to deny an organ donation. It establishes a process where a coroner or medical examiner can attend an organ recovery procedure and deny its removal if he or she thinks it may be involved in the cause of death.