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Introduced by Representatives Chen of Mendon and Keenan of St. Albans City

Referred to Committee on


Subject:  Health; anatomical gifts; organ donation; first person consent

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to honor a decedent's wishes regarding organ and tissue donations.


It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  18 V.S.A. chapter 109 is amended to read:



As used in this chapter:

(1)  “Anatomical gift” means a donation of all or part of a human body to take effect upon or after death.

(2)  “Anatomical gift registry” means an electronic database, as established in section 5248 of this title, of persons who have consented to an anatomical gift upon death.

(2)(3)  “Decedent” means a deceased individual and includes a stillborn infant or fetus.

(3)(4)  “Document of gift” means an organ and tissue donor card, inclusion in the anatomical gift registry, a statement attached to or imprinted on the reverse side of a Vermont motor vehicle operator’s license, a will, an advance directive, or other writing used to make an anatomical gift.

(4)(5)  “Donee” means a hospital, physician, procurement organization, or an accredited medical or dental school, college, or university authorized to receive an anatomical gift for the purposes stated in section 5242 of this title.

(5)(6)  “Donor” means an individual who makes an anatomical gift of all or part of his or her body.

(6)(7)  “Enucleator” means an individual who has successfully completed a course of training acceptable to the New England Eye Bank or a course of training approved by the board of medical practice to remove or process eyes or parts of eyes.

(7)(8)  “Hospital” means a facility licensed, accredited, or approved as a hospital under the law of any state, or a facility operated as a hospital by the United States government, a state, or a subdivision of a state.

(9)  “Next of kin” means a member of the highest priority class of individuals as described in subsection 5240(a) of this title.

(8)(10)  “Part” means an organ, tissue, eye, bone, artery, blood, fluid, or other portion of a human body.

(9)(11)  “Physician” means an individual licensed to practice medicine or osteopathic medicine under the laws of any state.

(10)(12)  “Procurement organization” means a person licensed, accredited, or approved under federal law as an organ procurement organization or under the laws of any state for procurement, distribution, or storage of human bodies or parts.

(11)(13)  “State” means a state, territory, or possession of the United States of America, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

(12)(14)  “Technician” means an individual who is approved by the board of medical practice or a procurement organization to remove or process a part.



(a)  An individual who is at least 18 years of age may:

(1)  Make an anatomical gift for any of the purposes stated in section 5242 of this title.

(2)  Limit an anatomical gift to one or more of those purposes.

(3)  Refuse to make an anatomical gift.

(b)  An anatomical gift may be made only by a document of gift signed by the donor.  If the donor cannot sign, the document of gift must be signed by another individual and by two witnesses, all of whom have signed at the direction and in the presence of the donor and of each other, and state that it has been so signed.  An anatomical gift may be made by a document of gift.  In the absence of a revocation or amendment of any document of gift showing an intent to donate, health care providers licensed in this state and federally designated organ procurement organizations shall act in accordance with the donor’s intention and may take appropriate actions to effect the anatomical gift.

(c)  If a document of gift is attached to or imprinted on a donor’s motor vehicle operator’s license, revocation, suspension, expiration, or cancellation of the license does not invalidate the anatomical gift.

(d)  An anatomical gift by will takes effect upon death of the testator, whether or not the will is probated.  If, after death, the will is declared invalid for testamentary purposes, the validity of the anatomical gift is unaffected.

(e)  A donor may amend or revoke an anatomical gift, not made by will, only by one of the following methods:

(1)  A signed statement.

(2)  An oral statement made in the presence of two individuals.

(3)(2)  Any form of communication during a terminal illness or injury addressed to a physician.

(4)(3)  The delivery of a signed statement to a specified donee to whom a document of gift had been delivered.

(f)  The donor of an anatomical gift made by will may amend or revoke the gift in the manner provided for amendment or revocation of wills or as provided in subsection (e) of this section.

(g)  An anatomical gift that is not revoked by the donor before death is irrevocable and does not require the consent or concurrence of any person after the donor’s death.

(h)  An individual may refuse to make an anatomical gift of the individual’s body or part by any one of the following:

(1)  A writing signed in the same manner as a document of gift.

(2)  A statement attached to or imprinted on the donor’s Vermont motor vehicle operator’s license.

(3)(2)  Any other writing used to identify the individual as refusing to make an anatomical gift.  During a terminal illness or injury, the refusal may be an oral statement or other form of communication addressed to a physician.

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(a)  If, at or near the time of death of a patient, there is no medical record that the patient has made expressed an intent to make or refused to make an anatomical gift, the hospital administrator or a representative designated by the administrator shall discuss with those persons specified in section 5240 of this title the option to make or refuse to make an anatomical gift and request the making of an anatomical gift pursuant to section 5240.  The request shall be made with reasonable discretion and sensitivity to the circumstances of the family.  A request is not required if the gift is not suitable, based upon accepted medical standards, for a purpose specified in section 5242 of this title.  An entry shall be made in the medical record of the patient, stating the name and affiliation of the individual making the request, and of the name, response, and relationship to the patient of the person to whom the request was made.  The secretary of human services shall establish guidelines to implement this subsection.

(b)  For the purpose of determining whether an individual is a donor or has refused to make an anatomical gift, the following persons shall make a reasonable effort to inspect an individual’s belongings to discover such items as a motor vehicle operator’s license or donor card, and to determine whether the individual has an organ donor card in his or her possession:

(1)  A law enforcement officer, fireman, paramedic, or other emergency rescuer finding an individual who the rescuer believes is dead or near death.

(2)  A designated representative of the hospital, upon the admission of an individual at or near the time of death, if no other source of that information is immediately available.

(c)  If a document of gift or evidence of refusal to make an anatomical gift is located by the search required by subdivision (b)(1) of this section, and the individual or body to whom it relates is taken to a hospital, the hospital shall be notified of the contents and the document or other evidence shall be sent to the hospital.

(d)  If, at or near the time of death of a patient, a hospital knows that an anatomical gift has been made pursuant to section 5240 of this title, or that a patient or an individual identified as in transit to the hospital is a donor, the hospital shall notify the donee if one is named and known to the hospital; if not, it shall notify an appropriate procurement organization.  The hospital shall cooperate in the implementation of the anatomical gift.

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(a)  The department of health, in coordination with the department of motor vehicles, shall develop and maintain a registry identifying persons who have express the intention to make an anatomical gift or otherwise have authorized a document of an anatomical gift.  The registry shall be maintained in a secured database that provides authorized organ procurement organizations, tissue banks, and eye banks immediate access to the registry at all times.  All persons entered in the registry shall have the right to revoke or amend their intent to make an anatomical gift or document of gift as provided in this chapter.  In no event shall the data be accessed or used for any purpose unrelated to the making of anatomical gifts.

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Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont