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Medical Examiners, Coroners, and Organ Recovery in the United States

Thomas F. Hegert, MD
JAMA. 1995;273(20):1578-1579. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520440030026.
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To the Editor.  —The article by Ms Shafer and colleagues1 emphasizes the impact of the medical examiner's denial for organ recovery but says little of the nearly 90% consent rate for recovery in medical examiner cases. The article strongly suggests the use of compelling legislation to achieve a 100% consent rate from medical examiners. The authors discuss the lack of formal accountability for the consequences of cases not released by medical examiners.Legislation requiring 100% compliance and methods of formal accountability do not govern any other agency within the organ and tissue transplantation community.The commitment of the physicians of the National Association of Medical Examiners is clearly stated in their brochure, "Policy and Guidelines on Human Organ and Tissue Procurement." These concepts were made available to the transplant community in 1988. They served to assist all medical examiners in developing standards of excellence in working with local OPOs.


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