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Supporters aim to change Pa. organ donor bill - abc27 WHTM

Supporters aim to change Pa. organ donor bill

Supporters aim to change Pa. organ donor bill

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Supporters who want a change to Pennsylvania's organ donation law shared their stories at the state Capitol Tuesday.

"For Tony to become a real boy and be free of his strings, it will take a transplant," one woman pleaded.

Among the supporters was Liz Wertz-Evans, a mother from Pittsburgh who lost her daughter at the age of 14.

"We can't change what happened to our family, but we can change what happens to another family so they don't have to have a child die," Wertz-Evans said.

Her daughter Amanda was a coroner's case, but Wertz-Evans decided to donate her organs.

"She needed to have an autopsy, but we were about making sure we could still donate her organs, and if they would have come back to us and said, 'No she can't be an organ donor because she needs an autopsy,' it would have felt like she died a second time," Wertz-Evans said.

Opposition to the changes include district attorneys and coroners. They fear the proposal could hinder investigations.

Richard Connell of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference opposes the changes, as well. He says only family members should be able to decide whether a loved ones organs are donated or not.

The new proposal would allow caretakers and family members to make that decision, thus wasting less healthy organs.

"Our biggest concern is to ensure that there is full donative intent and the individuals who donate are indeed related to and have a special attachment to the individual whose organs are being taken," Connell said.

Five hundred people currently are waiting for an organ on the Pennsylvania transplant list. Last year, more than 400 people died waiting on that list, which is too high for Howard Nathan of the Gift of Life Donor Program.

"I think it's really mom and apple pie to help Pennsylvanians who are desperately waiting for an organ transplant, and we hope this hearing will be the start of getting it moved," Nathan said.

The bill may be voted in by the end of summer.

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