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  • Acts
  • 2005
  • Chapter 145 AN ACT RELATIVE TO ORGAN AND TISSUE DONATIONS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:


SECTION 1. The first paragraph of section 8 of chapter 90 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2004 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following sentence:- Each applicant shall be asked in writing whether he wishes to become an organ or tissue donor in such license application or renewal thereof.

SECTION 2. Section 8E of said chapter 90, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following paragraph:-

Each applicant shall be asked in writing whether he wishes to become an organ or tissue donor in the application. The registrar shall provide to federally designated organ procurement organizations and other federally registered nonprofit eye and tissue banks serving the commonwealth access to names, dates of birth and other pertinent information of such identification holders in the same manner as provided for licensed drivers under section 8D.

SECTION 3. Chapter 113 of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out section 5A, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 5A. (a) The chief medical examiner or his designee shall provide the federally designated organ procurement organization and other federally-registered nonprofit eye and tissue banks located in the commonwealth with information necessary to facilitate organ and tissue donation including, but not limited to, names and contact information of individuals whose deaths have been reported pursuant to chapter 38, and autopsy reports on donors whose deaths are under investigation. In case of a suspicious death where the district attorney is controlling the investigation pursuant to chapter 38, the chief medical examiner or his designee shall not provide an autopsy report unless he is informed by the district attorney that he may do so. A health care professional authorized to remove an anatomical gift from a donor whose death is under investigation shall remove the donated part from the donor's body for the acceptance by a donee, after giving notice to the chief medical examiner or district attorney, or their respective designees, subject to this section. The chief medical examiner and the district attorney, or their respective designees, shall approve or deny removal of the anatomical gift within the time provided by law to ensure the preservation of the anatomical gift for transplantation. The chief medical examiner, or his designee, may permit the removal of the anatomical gift at the medical examiner's office. The chief medical examiner or district attorney, or their respective designees, shall be present during the removal of the anatomical gift if in their judgment such attendance would, in the opinion of the chief medical examiner or district attorney, or their respective designees, facilitate a donation that would otherwise be denied. In that case, the chief medical examiner or district attorney, or their respective designees, may request a biopsy or deny removal of the anatomical gift and shall explain the reasons for determining that those tissues or organs may be involved in the cause of death.

(b) No medical examiner, physician, federally designated organ procurement organization, or federally registered nonprofit eye or tissue bank who acts or attempts to act in good faith in accordance with this section shall be liable for that act in a civil action or criminal proceeding.

SECTION 4. Section 7 of said chapter 113, as amended by section 9 of chapter 27 of the acts of 2005, is hereby further amended by striking out the definition of "Donor" and inserting in place thereof the following 3 definitions:-

"Document of gift", an organ and tissue donor card, inclusion in a donor registry, a statement attached to or imprinted on a driver's license or an identification card issued by the registrar of motor vehicles, a will or other writing used to make an anatomical gift.

"Donor", an individual who makes a gift of all or part of his body.

"Donor registry", an electronic database identifying donors that is developed and maintained by a federally designated organ procurement organization or federally registered nonprofit eye or tissue bank serving the commonwealth.

SECTION 5. Section 8 of said chapter 113, as appearing in the 2004 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out subsection (b) to (g), inclusive, and inserting in place thereof the following 5 subsections:-

(b) An organ or tissue donation, regardless of the document of gift making such donation, that is not revoked by the donor before death shall be irrevocable and shall require the consent or concurrence of a person after the donor's death.

(c) On or before the occurrence of death in an acute hospital, the federally designated organ procurement organization or federally registered nonprofit eye or tissue bank shall inform any of the persons listed below in the order of priority stated when persons in prior classes are not available, whether or not the decedent authorized a gift, of the opportunity to authorize a gift of all or part of the decedent's body for purposes of organ and tissue transplantation as provided in section 9, if no actual notice of contrary intentions by the person has been received and if consent to such donation could yield an organ or tissue suitable for transplantation. The order of priority of such persons shall be:-

(1) spouse;

(2) an adult son or daughter;

(3) a parent;

(4) an adult brother or sister;

(5) a health care proxy;

(6) a guardian of the body of the decedent at the time of his death; and

(7) any other person authorized or under obligation to dispose of the body.

(d) If the donee has actual notice of contrary indications by the decedent, or that a gift authorized by a member of a class is opposed by a majority of individuals in the same or a prior class, the donee shall not accept the gift. A person authorized in subsection (c) may make the gift after death or immediately before death.

(e) A gift of all or part of a body authorizes premortem tests and any other examination necessary to assure medical acceptability of the gift for the purposes intended by the donor.

(f) The rights of the donee created by the gift shall supercede the rights of others except as provided in subsection (d) of section 13.

SECTION 6. Section 10 of said chapter 113, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out, in lines 32 and 41, the words "subsection (b)" and inserting in place thereof, in each instance, the following word:- subsection (c).

SECTION 7. Section 14 of said chapter 113 is hereby repealed.

Approved November 22, 2005.