on organ donation
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[JULY 5, 2006]
SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich signed a law June 26 that
will allow hospitals to begin organ and tissue preservation for
later donation when the wishes of the patient or the family are
House Bill 5259, sponsored by Rep. Tom Cross, R-Plainfield,
and Sen. James Clayborne, D-East St. Louis, permits hospitals to use
preservation techniques in order to maintain the viability of organs
and tissues until the patient's family can consent to or deny organ
and tissue donation.
"Organ donation can mean the difference between life and death.
This bill means that more organs will be donated to people who need
them, and that means more people will live, more people will recover
from diseases, more people will be healthy. That makes this a bill
I'm very proud to sign," Blagojevich said.
House Bill 5259 amends the Organ Donation Request Act. The new
law provides that if the patient's wishes are unknown and if the
person authorized to give consent is unavailable, the hospital may
use organ preservation equipment and techniques to maintain the
viability of the decedent's organs until consent to donate is
determined. If an organ procurement agency cannot determine the
patient's or family's wishes, or if it discovers that the patient or
family does not want to donate organs or tissues, all preservation
efforts must be stopped.
"I want to commend the governor and the General Assembly for
establishing a law that will save additional lives by making more
organs available for transplantation," said Secretary of State Jesse
White. "This change gives added hope to the thousands of people on
the waiting list for transplants in Illinois, and I urge all
Illinoisans to give the gift of life by joining the state's new
First-Person Consent Donor Registry at
"This law will allow more willing participants in the organ donor
program to have their organs donated to those who need them most and
give people with serious health problems a chance to live longer,
healthier lives," said Cross, who sponsored the bill in the House.
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As of June 2006, more than 4,600 patients are on the waiting list
in Illinois for an organ. House Bill 5259 will increase the number
of transplants and decrease the number of patients on the waiting
"This legislation is designed to affect those who die
unexpectedly, yet whose families may wish to give the gift of life
through organ donation," said Clayborne, sponsor in the Senate. "It
is vitally important to give physicians some additional time to
contact loved ones to determine the wishes of the decedent. In this
way, we stand to save thousands of Illinoisans' lives by providing
additional access to organs that would otherwise not be available."
Under the new law, organ procurement agencies will pay the cost
of preservation and donation procedures. Organs and tissues that can
be donated include the heart, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, intestines,
eyes, skin, bone and heart valves.
Over the course of his administration, Blagojevich has
demonstrated a commitment to organ and tissue donation. In 2004, he
signed a bill that allows organs to be donated from a ventilated
patient after "cardiac death." In June of 2005, he signed
legislation that created the First-Person Consent Organ and Tissue
Donor Registry, which makes a person's decision to donate lifesaving
organs and tissue binding. In addition, Illinois has the largest
donor registry in the nation.
House Bill 5259 takes effect Jan. 1, 2007.
[News release from the governor's