|By State Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne)
Pennsylvania became a leader in organ donation advocacy in 1994 with the passage of landmark legislation that created a set of best practices. That law would get a much-needed update under a measure that has been sent to Gov. Tom Wolf by the General Assembly.
Senate Bill 180
, which unanimously passed the House of Representatives last week, would expand the list of those persons authorized to decide on behalf of a decedent whether his or her organs are donated.
In addition, the so-called “Donate Life PA Act,” would permit a minimally invasive blood or tissue test to be conducted to determine the suitability of a donor; call for education regarding organ and tissue donation and transplantation for high school students, as well as nursing and medical students; and increase the voluntary contribution made by citizens from $1 to $3 for driver’s license and vehicle registration renewals.
The bill would also 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.
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. As someone who has donated an organ to a family member, my hope is that this bill will help to reduce those numbers.
Representative Tarah Toohil
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office