Donate Life PA Act Passes Senate

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On Tuesday, May 17th, the Pennsylvania Senate voted to pass State Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf’s Donate Life PA Act, SB 180, to help increase organ and tissue donation in the Commonwealth.

One person in Pennsylvania dies every 18 hours while waiting for an organ transplant.  Today, over 8,000 people in our state are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.  More await life-improving cornea, tissue and bone marrow transplants.

This is a health crisis in need of immediate action.  As organ transplant medicine advances, the Commonwealth must update its laws to accommodate the most modern and best practices.

SB 180 would ensure that more viable organs reach the patients in need and it would increase public education about the need for donors.  Sometimes people never get the chance to give the gift of organ or tissue donation – even if they are registered – because too much time has passed before donation is considered or authorized.

The Donate Life PA Act would improve the communication process between county coroners or medical examiners and organ procurement organizations.  At the same time, the bill includes specific rules to ensure that organ donation will never interfere with a criminal investigation.

The bill would also protect every donor’s wishes by allowing someone with power of attorney to authorize donation.   If the intent of the dying person is not clear, the bill sets forth the procedure to contact family and caregivers to learn the person’s intent with regard to organ donation.

Last session, similar legislation passed by the Senate by large majority – but the legislative calendar ended before it could become law.

Senator Greenleaf said, “Every day, doctors tell patients that they are simply not going to live without an organ transplant.  Parents receive horrible news that their child isn’t going to survive without a transplant.  SB 180 is desperately needed by these patients to give more people a greater chance of surviving.  This legislation is a fight for their lives.”

SB 180 has now been referred to the House of Representatives.

More information about the Donate Life PA Act and organ donation can be found at www.SenatorGreenleaf.com/organ-donation.  The site features stories of several Pennsylvanians who have received anatomical gifts and how organ donation has saved their lives or those of their children.

Contact:  Aaron Zappia (215) 657-7700

 azappia@pasen.gov