Blagojevich celebrates National Donate Life Month
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New law increases organ
availability for transplant
[APRIL 21, 2005]
CHICAGO -- In celebrating April as National Donate Life Month,
Gov. Rod Blagojevich highlighted a new law that helps facilitate
organ donations. The Stan Scott Law, signed into law last August by
Blagojevich, mandates that hospitals must inform family members of
all options surrounding their loved one's organ donations, including
a free transfer to a different hospital in circumstances when the
original hospital is unable to perform organ donations.
"This law will ensure that those that
wish to donate their organs have every opportunity to do so," the
governor said. "As we celebrate Donate Life Month we should remember
that through tragedy one can still help others live. I encourage
everyone to become organ donors. For the person who receives a
donated organ, it can mean the difference between having a healthy
life or being confined to a bed. It can make the difference between
being able to see or being blind. And many times, it can mean the
difference between life and death."
Illinois has the largest organ donation
registry in the nation, with over 6 million registered donors, yet
nearly 5,000 Illinoisans are waiting for transplants. To date, over
14,000 Illinois residents have received transplants of some kind,
and over 1,000 were saved last year because of donated organs.
In attendance at a press
conference with the governor was Kathleen Scott, whose husband's tragic
death inspired her to push for the legislation. Her husband, Stan,
lost his life in a tragic accident at age 35. At the time of his
death, his organs were not donated because the hospital did not
inform Kathleen of the details of its organ donation policy. The
Stan Scott Law requires hospitals to notify the patient or
decision-maker about all organ donation policies and options
available to the patient. These extra steps guarantee that organ
donors are able to provide their healthy organs to those in need.
"The tragedy of my 35-year-old
husband's death was compounded by our inability to donate his
organs, due to a policy at the hospital that we were never told
about," Mrs. Scott said. "He was not able to help save the lives of
others, as was his wish. The purpose of this law is to protect the
rights of other families so their loved ones will not have to die in
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House Bill 4862, or Stan Scott's Law, amended the Organ Donation
Request Act by requiring an additional level of notification to a
hospital patient, or the family of that patient, who wants to
proceed with an organ donation. When the original hospital is unable
to perform the donation, the law also allows for a patient to be
transferred to another hospital that could perform the donation at
no cost to the patient.
Rep. Michael P. McAuliffe,
R-Chicago, was the bill's chief sponsor in the House, while Sen.
James A. DeLeo, D-Chicago, sponsored the bill in the Senate. The
bill passed both chambers unanimously and was signed by the governor
on Aug. 9, 2004.
"I would like to thank Gov. Rod
Blagojevich for signing this organ donation legislation," McAuliffe
said. "This legislation will provide families with more information
on hospital's organ donation policy and procedures. I would also
like to thank the governor for coming out to my district to help
make the public more aware about organ donation."
In 2003, President Bush first
announced that the month of April will be observed as
Life Month, a time to raise public awareness of the critical
need for organ, tissue, marrow and blood donation.
[News release from the governor's