Legal Terms Organ Donors Should Know
Anyone who receives a state issued drivers license will have the opportunity to become an organ donor prior to receiving the license. This is a great opportunity for those that want to give life, after death. People all over the country are waiting for organ transplants, unfortunately, they are waiting for someone else to die to receive the transplant. So what happens if you are in a car wreck, if someone got behind the wheel illegally, under the influence of drugs and alcohol, does that change the legal ramifications of your donor status?
There have been advanced developments with organ and tissue transplant surgeries that have given people with life-threatening situations a better chance of survival. The increased success rate that the medical community has experienced with heart, lung, kidney, liver, eye, and skin graph transplants can be attributed to the advanced surgical techniques and proper screening for exact match patients. The need for donor volunteers is at an all-time high and donor facilities are looking to get more people to become donors. Blood donors are also needed more than ever. If you are alive and healthy you can also sign up with a stem cell donor registry and donate stem cells and bone marrow.
The legal documentation that surrounds the organ transplant industry revolves around the Uniform Act. The Act is meant to record the donor’s intention to make the donation and records legally. The donor card can be its own source of identification or something printed on a legally issued drivers license. These should be carried in your wallet at all times in case of an emergency.
Legally speaking, a written donation will require a signature form the donating participant, and that signature will need to be witnessed by at least two other people. A patient can verbally convey the desire to donate, that however also needs to be done in the company of two other people for it to be legally binding. A dying patient can make a request to donate organs to the primary care physician that is in the room, however, that physician will not be able to legally remove the organs. Another practicing doctor will need to proceed with the surgery.
If an individual has already committed to becoming an organ donor and they have a change of heart in their dying hour, they can verbalize this to the physician or family member. There must be two people present to confirm the request. Should the individual that is dying become incapable of making the decision to donate, family member or guardian can speak on behalf of the individual and gift the organs of the body.
The uniform act is a legally binding document that forbids the sale of body parts. Anyone receiving a transplant is not legally able to purchase the organ but instead is required to cover the costs of the extraction, transportation, and transplant process. The donated organs can only be acquired by those in the medical field or institutions of medical research. These laws have been put in place to prevent people from buying and selling human organs on the black market.