While not as immediately impactful in the life-saving sense, eye and tissue
transplantation is nonetheless of enormous importance. In 2012, there were
over 46,000 corneal transplants and over 1 million tissue transplants performed in the U.S.
Statistical evidence is mixed regarding whether presumed consent will
significantly increase organ donation rates compared to opt-in approaches.
However, the impact on eye and tissue donation rates is less studied, and
there is reason to suspect the impact could be more substantial. Generally,
the percentage of viable organ donors recovered is quite high. A number of
factors explain this. Most people are familiar with organ donation and have
generally positive opinions of the transplantation system.
74 Medical facilities routinely refer potential organ donors to procurement organizations and
are usually required to do so.
75 When suitable donors progress to brain
death, organ procurement teams take charge of case management, ensuring
that viability is maintained while arrangements for transplantation into a
waiting recipient are made.
Eye and tissue donation are simpler than organ donation in the practical
sense. Procurement can proceed up to twenty-four hours after death.
77 Corneas are preserved and refrigerated, and they can be transplanted several
transplantation in HIV-positive recipients. See, e.g., Sara Reardon, United States to Allow
Transplants of HIV-Infected Organs, NATURE (Nov. 13, 2013).
72. Donate Life Am., Statistics, http://donatelife.net/understanding-donation/statistics/
(last visited May 22, 2014).
73. Compare Rithalia, supra note 5 (citing donation rate increases as high as thirty percent after introduction of presumed consent), with Brian J. Boyarsky et al., Potential Limitations of Presumed Consent Legislation, 93 TRANSPLANTATION 136 (2012) (discussing confounding factors that show presumed consent not functionally increasing donation rates).
74. Felix Cantarovich, An International Opinion Poll of Well-Educated People Regarding Awareness and Feelings About Organ Donation for Transplantation, 20 TRANSPLANT
INT’L 512 (2007); Statistics, supra note 72; Sara K. Kahan, Note, Incentivizing Organ Donation: A Proposal to End the Organ Shortage, 38 HOFSTRA L. REV. 757, 759 (2009) (citing
THE GALLUP ORG., 2005 NAT’L SURVEY OF ORGAN & TISSUE DONATION ATTITUDES &
BEHAVIORS 5, 9 (2005)).
75. 42 C.F.R. §§ 482.45, 485.643 (West, WestlawNext through May 15, 2014; 79 Fed.
76. Ass’n of Organ Procurement Orgs., An Organ Procurement Organization’s Role in
the Organ Recovery Process, http://www.aopo.org/userfiles/Donation_Process.pdf (last visited May 22, 2014).
77. Am. Ass’n of Tissue Banks, Printable Update for Insertion Into Standards D5 400
(Mar. 18, 2010), http://www.aatb.org/index.asp?bid=43 (permitting procurement up to twenty-four hours after asystole if body is adequately cooled within twelve hours after asystole);
EYE BANK ASS’N OF AM., MEDICAL STANDARDS § D1.600 (2011), available at
.pdf (allowing variable acceptable time intervals between death and procurement, but recommending procurement as soon as possible after death); see also Cornea Donation, Donate
Life Am., Cornea Donation, http://donatelife.net/understanding-donation/cornea-donation/
(last visited May 22, 2014) (“Cornea donation usually happens within 12 hours of death.”).