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May 24, 1995

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

Author Affiliations

LifeGift Organ Donation Center Fort Worth, Tex

JAMA. 1995;273(20):1579. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520440030027

In Reply.  —Dr Hanzlick presents the usual litany of some medical examiners' objections to mandates that compel the ME/C to cooperate with the release of organ donors. The appropriate response to these criticisms is to ask whether the objections are valid or merely excuses. If Hanzlick's objections are valid, then those objections should stand up to public scrutiny. With 38 000 people awaiting organs, it is not possible to defend the fact that approximately 10% of ME/C cases are denied annually. His contention that "some transplant recipients die during or following surgery" misconstrues the reality that 98% of patients survive surgery and that most liver, heart, and lung recipients are willing to take the risk of a 2% operative mortality.In most areas of the country, there is currently no public scrutiny when these denials occur. No one would argue that for those rare cases where the ME/C presence is

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