In February 2020, a bill referred to as “Griffin’s Law” passed the Montana Senate 49-0. Even though Montana has no transplant centers of its own, it is still hoped that if the regulation is passed into law it will help to draw attention to the issue of donation discrimination. Provided that the bill passes the house and is signed by the governor, Montana is slated to become the 17th state to prohibit such discrimination.
With over 100,000 individuals on the waiting list for organs in the country, medical professionals often must make difficult decisions about which patients are most likely to benefit from transplants. One 2019 report reveals that individuals with intellectual or neurodevelopmental disabilities are more likely to have co-occurring conditions that could make transplants dangerous. Other people believe that these patients might not be able to comply with post-transplant requirements. In addition to the new regulation, the transplant surgeons’ society also recently adopted a new statement supporting nondiscrimination and encouraging transplant centers to find a way to support all patients.
While the issue of transplant discrimination is one of the biggest challenges facing the transplant industry today, many people still wrestle with the idea of how to approach organ donation and the role that it should play in their estate plans. To better prepare you for including organ donation in your estate plans, consider the following.
How to Express Your Donation Plans
People decide to donate organs for various reasons, including transplants or research. One of the biggest challenges, however, is making sure that your donation plans are fully and clearly expressed. For example, some people decide to obtain an organ donor card and carry it with them to show that they would like their organs donated.
It is just as critical to make sure that your donation goals are fully expressed in advance health care directives or living wills. These documents can be used to express specific goals. For example, some people contain instructions in these documents that restrict the use of what organs should be transplanted.
Anticipate Conflicting Wishes
The decision to donate organs can be controversial among loved ones. To avoid having a loved one with differing goals make an adverse decision, you should make sure to sufficiently describe your wish to donate your organs as well as what specific organs you would like to be subject to donation.
Additionally, to decrease the chances that your loved ones override your wishes, you should consider having a discussion with them in advance to better articulate your donation goals. You should also make sure to inform your health care agent about your donation wishes, among other plans.
The Possibility of Full Body Donation
Sometimes, people choose to simply donate their entire body for medical research. If any of your organs have been removed, however, it is not possible to donate your body in this way. Consequently, you should understand how the extent of your donation plans might impact your final condition. You might even arrange for your body to be returned to your loved ones for burial and cremation after research is concluded.
Contact a Compassionate Estate Planning Attorney
If you have questions or concerns about donations or any other aspect of estate planning, it can help greatly to contact an experienced attorney. Contact attorney Jim A Lyon today to schedule a free case evaluation.