Sunday, February 28, 2010

Did You Know? Georgia’s Organ Donor Law changed in 2008

Georgia Insight- Sue Ella Deadwyler;

Have you renewed your Georgia driver’s license since July 1, 2008?

Do you know why you weren’t asked whether you wanted to be an organ donor?

Pre 7-1-08: Donors must opt-in. After 7-1-08: If you don’t opt-out, your organs may be taken.

Background. Before S.B. 405 passed in April 2008, Georgia law authorized driver’s licenses to be issued at half price for all applicants who agreed to donate their organs at death.

That was an opt-in process. Meaning, organs would not be harvested, unless the individual left word that organs could be harvested. But the 20-page 2008 bill revised the original law, making it an opt-out process. That put everyone in the precarious position of being presumptive donors at death, whether or not they had known they must opt-out to keep their bodies intact.

In August 2008, I reported the change in the organ donor law. Since then, when I address a group anywhere, I ask them to raise their hands if they know the organ donor law had changed.

No hands are raised, because no one knows – including legislators. Why don’t they know? It passed hurriedly at the end of the 2008 session and was never publicized. Officials issuing drivers’ licenses, simply, quit asking applicants whether they wanted to become organ donors.

When that change in the law took effect July 1, 2008, it became an opt-out plan, authorizing the harvesting of body parts, unless the decedent leaves definite documentation refusing to be a donor. Also, the decedent may indicate the refusal orally, but two adults must witness it. That’s true of drivers and non-drivers. Absent a refusal document, written or verbal, other entities – family member, friend, funeral director, crematorium – may allow organs to be harvested.

The Remedy

H.B. 1235, introduced February 18, 2010 by Representative Bobby Reese, would return the organ donor Act to the original process – opt-in instead of opt-out. Although current law passed as a 20-page bill, it can be fixed with the following not-so-simple sentence:

“An absence of any indication by an individual of an intention to make an anatomical gift shall constitute a refusal to make an anatomical gift of such individual’s body or part.”

The above sentence protects against presumption by default. It’s legalese for “you can’t have my organs unless I say you can,” even if I don’t leave a refusal document or fail to tell someone to keep my body intact or am oblivious to the possibility that my organs could be harvested.

ACTION – Support.

The list is long, so call your representative, if listed, and several others.

Health & Human Services Representatives
Cooper, Ch., 404 656-5069;
Rynders, 656-7855;
Holt, 656-0152;
Butler, 656- 0188;
Byrd, 656-0298;
Cheokas, 656-0325;
Collins, 656-0188;
Dempsey, 656-0213;
Dobbs, 656-7859;
Dodson, 656- 0325;
Drenner, 656-0202;
Fullerton, 656-0127;
Gordon, 656-0287;
Graves, 656-0109;
Harden, 656-0177;
Hembree, 656- 5154;
Henson, 656-7859;
Howard, 656-6372;
Hudson, 656-7859;
Jones, 656-0323;
Kaiser, 656-0265;
Keown, 656-0177;
Kidd, 656-0325;
Loudermilk, 656-0152;
Lunsford, 656-0213;
Maddox, 656-0152;
Millar, 656-5064;
Mitchell, 656-0116;
Morgan. 656-0109;
Mosby, 656-0287;
Parsons, 656-9198;
Purcell, 656-0188;
Randall, 656-0109;
Rogers, 463-2247;
Sellier, 656-0254;
Sims, 656-0213;
Stephens, 656-0117;
Stephenson, 656-0126;
and Wilkinson, 463-8143.

February 26, 2010

No comments: