TRENTON, N.J. – More than 4,000 state residents are on waiting lists for life-saving organ transplants. Legislation passed by the Assembly today ensures recent changes to statutes governing county medical examiners do not impede their access to donated organs.
Sponsored by Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso, the bill (S2922/A4504) restores language specifying the M.E.’s role during the removal of organs for donations. The Senate passed the bill in December, and it now moves to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk for consideration.
“When people donate organs after their death, time is critical to completing the transplant,” said DiMaso (R-Monmouth). “This bill addresses concerns that recent changes to the law could in some cases delay or prevent organ donation.”
The comprehensive Revised State Medical Examiners Act was signed into law by Gov. Murphy in July. One of the reforms allows examiners to prohibit donations of organs if the death is under investigation. Previously, only organs that may have been involved in the cause of death could be denied by the medical examiner.
“It’s unnecessary and jeopardizes transplants that could save lives,” said DiMaso. “We’re removing this obstacle without interfering with autopsies or investigations by county professionals.”
More than 150,000 patients await organ transplants nationally, and an average of 20 die each day.