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Heather A. Kmetz
503.243.1661 x 226

Organ Donation: Turning Intent into Consent

September 2008

Heather A. Kmetz
503.243.1661 x 226

A reverend came to heaven and said to St. Peter, "I have preached every Sunday and helped many people in my community, may I come into heaven?"  St. Peter said, "Sure, please sit on this bench here and wait until your name will be called."  Then a young man in blue jeans arrived and was allowed straight into heaven.  The reverend went to St. Peter and asked, "Who is that?"  St. Peter said, "He was a bus driver."  The reverend complained, "How come he is allowed straight into heaven and I have to wait?"  St. Peter explained, "You know, here we go by results, not by good intentions.  When you preached, only a third of the people in your church really prayed.  One third were bored and thinking of something else, and one third were dozing off.  But I can tell you, when this man drove a bus, everybody on the bus constantly prayed."

With the best of intentions, Oregon residents wishing to be an organ, eye and tissue donor ask the Department of Motor Vehicles to put a "D" restriction code on their license, permit or identification card - Washington residents request a "" code.

Registration at www.donatelifenw.org for Oregon residents or www.donatelifetoday.com for Washington residents is more likely to get you through the Pearly gates without delay.

Although both registration methods are authorized under new Oregon and Washington laws known as the Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, procurement agencies prefer Internet registration because they are concerned that a person who places a "D" "" on their license may not have been fully informed as to the nature of the designation. For this reason, procurement agencies generally seek consent from the family of a deceased individual with a "D" "" on a license – although they honor the Internet registration without seeking further consent.

Under the Act, an individual can register as a donor by Internet registration, driver's license designation, recital in a will, an oral or written designation made during a terminal illness or injury (witnessed by two adults, at least one of whom is not related), and the signing of an organ donation card or other written record.  Although all are legally permissible, Internet registration is recognized as the quickest and most effective method for ensuring donor status.

In addition to Oregon and Washington, the following states and the District of Columbia have adopted a Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.  Additionally, the Act has been introduced this year in Kentucky, Maryland and New York.

Related Practice Areas

Estates and Trusts

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