Organ and Tissue Donation | Print |

When death falls under the jurisdiction of the Medical Examiner's Office, requests from organ/tissue procurement agencies to proceed with organ or tissue procurement (donation) MUST be cleared by the Medical Examiner. Permission of the legal-next-of-kin is also required, This office’s policy is to facilitate organ/tissue when possible, and we authorize requests in most cases. The removal of organs or tissues on violent deaths must be coordinated with the duty Medical Examiner. The duty Medical Examiner or his designee must be notified for clearance for the procedure, to document removal and, if necessary, examine organs removed. The Medical Examiner's Office must be immediately contacted about any potential transplant donor. On cases where organ or tissue removal is made, copies of authorization forms, signed by the family, must accompany the body to the office. The information must clearly state which organs and tissues were (or are to be) donated.

Some procurement agencies procure organs/tissues prior to autopsy and others do it after the autopsy. Such procedures depend on the nature of the donated tissue and on the policies and procedures of the procurement agency. Our office cooperates in both settings.

Although Georgia’s presumed consent law allows medical examiners to release cornea tissue without expressed family permission (as long as no objection is known), our office requires that the family authorize such donation. Cornea procurement is organized through the Georgia Eye Bank and other tissue procurement agencies, as needed.

There will be circumstances not covered by the above. Please ask questions as required any time of the day or night. Remember, when in doubt, contact the Medical Examiner's Office for information.