TRENTON, N.J. – Ensuring that recent reforms to the state’s medical examiner system do not interfere with access to donated organs is now law in New Jersey.
The legislation, sponsored by Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso, restores language specifying that medical examiners can only stop a donation when an organ might have been involved in the cause of death.
It helps more than 4,000 New Jersey residents on waiting lists for life-saving organ transplants.
“Time is critical for patients dependent on a transplant,” said DiMaso (R-Monmouth). “The new law eliminates unnecessary delays or restrictions by medical examiners.”
The bill signed by Gov. Phil Murphy Monday, passed the state Assembly in January and the Senate in December.
Legislation last year overhauled the state’s medical examiner system in an effort to modernize the state’s death investigation process. It allowed examiners to prohibit donations if a death is under investigation, when the previous process allowed only organs that may have been involved in the cause of death to be denied for donation.
“We’re removing obstacles without interfering with autopsies or investigations,” DiMaso noted. “It was unnecessary and jeopardized transplants that could save lives.”
More than 150,000 patients await organ transplants nationally, and on average 20 die each day.