Donation Of Body Organs And Tissues A

number of states have enacted laws permitting the donation of dead bodies or parts of them by will. Authorization forms for the use of tissues and organs, including eyes, are available from regional organ procurement organizations, such as "Life Source," the Upper Midwest Organ Procurement Organization and the Minnesota Lions Eye Bank. Anatomical bequest forms vary from institution to institution but generally follow the terms of the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act. Under these terms, an institution also may reject a body, for example, if it is decomposed and thus not suitable for anatomic study. All states now have adopted the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act in some form (21). Under the provisions of this act, a small card, signed by the deceased and two witnesses, is a legal document providing for the donation of organs for transplantation purposes or for the donation of the body for anatomical study, or for both. The card also has a space in which limitations of its provisions or special wishes may be entered. A driver's license also may indicate that the owner agrees to be an organ donor. The Anatomical Gift Act clarifies priorities of persons who may consent to the donation of a body for educational or research purposes or for the donation of specific organs and tissues for transplantation. Information on related topics is provided in refs. (22-26). In reality, the organ- and tissue-procurement agencies always obtain permission from the next of kin and use the donor cards only as evidence of the intentions of the decedent during discussion with the next of kin.

If deaths come under the jurisdiction of the medical examiner or coroner, the organ-procurement agency must obtain permission from these officials, in addition to the permission from the next of kin. In the department of the first author (V.I.A.), it is rare for the medical examiner to deny permission for organ harvest. Flexibility of both parties makes this possible. Thus, the organ-procurement team will do studies such as coronary angiography if they are requested by the medical examiner. The medical examiner will sometimes perform an external inspection at the hospital or attend the subsequent surgical harvesting. Fortunately, the likelihood of a murder prosecution failing because organ harvesting has been permitted is minimal if the medical examiner is an experienced witness. To help a pathologist with little court experience, the prosecutor, at the expense of his office, may bring in another expert.

Some states have a provision in law that permits a medical examiner or coroner to donate corneas if the next of kin cannot be located after reasonable efforts to do so. However, medical records must be reviewed in such instances to ascertain that they do not contain objections to such a donation. If this is not done, the official may be liable (5).

Blood Pressure Health

Blood Pressure Health

Your heart pumps blood throughout your body using a network of tubing called arteries and capillaries which return the blood back to your heart via your veins. Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart beats.Learn more...

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