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State Law Means Increase In Organ Donations

April 27, 1987

CHICAGO (AP) _ Donations of organs and tissues for transplants have increased 150 percent thanks to a new state law, officials said.

Further increases are expected in October when a federal law goes into effect, said Elizabeth Hasan, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Eye Bank.

Under the state law, next-of-kin of patients who die in Illinois hospitals with 100 or more beds must be asked to donate the deceased patients’ organs and tissues.

During the first quarter of 1987, transplant agencies reported that total donated organs and tissues increased to 335 in Illinois, compared with 134 during the period a year earlier.

Similar boosts in donations have occurred in other states with required- reque st laws, the agencies said.

Pancreas donations, used to help eliminate the need for insulin injections by some diabetics, increased 250 percent.

The biggest jump was in tissue donations, said Betty Perls, spokeswoman for the Illinois Transplant Society. Skin donations were up 800 percent, and heart-valve donations increased 1,000 percent, she said.

The federal law requires hospitals that receive Medicare and Medicaid funds to ask families for organs.

The federal law threatens hospitals with loss of federal funds if they do not make the requests. The state law carries no penalties for non-compliance.

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