Coroners, organ donation groups debate law

Written by The Associated Press | Oct 3, 2016 3:59 AM

FILE PHOTO: (AP Photo/Whitney Curtis)

(Philadelphia) -- State coroners and lawmakers are split over proposed overhauls to Pennsylvania's anatomical donation law, more than two decades after the commonwealth led the country in passing legislation to bolster organ and tissue donation.

The commonwealth passed a law in 1994 requiring hospitals to develop referrals for deceased patients.

Today, more than 8,000 patients await transplants in Pennsylvania.

The proposal would revamp who can authorize donation.

The state Coroners Association has distributed letters against the law.

It says the measure could harm criminal investigations and only lead to more profits in a multi-billion dollar industry.

Bill supporters, including nonprofit donation group Gift of Life, counter that donations and criminal investigations are not mutually exclusive.

They say the law will align Pennsylvania with other states and preserve coroners' rights while saving lives.

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