Organ and tissue donation bill advances

FRANKFORT, Feb. 22 -- Rep. Lynn Bechler, R-Marion, presents HB 123, a bill regarding children who are committed to the care of the state, in the House Judiciary Committee.

FRANKFORT— Supporters of organ and tissue donation hope a proposed change to Kentucky law will save more lives while fully honoring the wishes of donors.

House Bill 84, sponsored by Rep. Lynn Bechler, R-Marion, would require coroners and medical examiners to contact the Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates, or KODA, if a deceased person’s body is in any way medically suitable for organ or tissue donation. The bill was approved today without dissent by the House Licensing, Occupations & Administrative Regulations.

Hospitals routinely contact KODA to determine if someone is an organ donor, Bechler told the committee, but donors who die outside of a hospital setting can have their wishes overlooked.

That is what happened to the late Courtney Flear, a 19-year-old Princeton woman killed in a traffic accident in 2015. Although Flear had signed her driver’s license indicating that she wanted to be an organ donor, KODA was never contacted, said Bechler.

“Had the proposed changes that are in HB 84 been law at the time of Courtney’s death, one or more lives may have been saved,” he said.

Should HB 84 become law, a provision in the bill would allow it to be cited as Courtney’s Law in honor of Flear.

The bill now moves to the full House for consideration.