An effort to encourage more organ and tissue transplants in Missouri might be filled with good intentions, but critics say good intentions are not enough.

Missouri’s Uniform Anatomical gift act is 40 years old and needs updating because so much has happened in medicine. But the bill eliminates a high legal standard in present law that says organs will be harvested in good faith and without negligence. CEO Robert Linderer of the Midwest Transplant Network in Kansas City wants to get rid of the "without negligence" wording in the law. He says organ harvesters are sometimes faced with cases in which the potential donor had not indicated an intention. But a person claiming to be the closest relative gives permission. Linderer says the harvesting agents need to act in good faith that the person is, indeed, the next-of-kin because they often do not have time to do more extensive research.

But Kansas city laywer John Campbell argues on behalf of the Missouri Trial Lawyers Association that "good faith" is a hollow phrase having so many meanings that it actually has no meaning. He tells a state senate committee that "negligence" needs to remain when the new law is passed.

Other critics call for the law to erect a higher wall between the medical care team and the transplant team, and point to another provision that says a close relative can order organ removal even if the dead person had ordered no organs be harvested..

A senate committee is considering what to do with the proposal.


The bill is SB1139


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