Can I document my wishes regarding organ/tissue donation using the Health Care Proxy?
Section 6 of the Health Care Proxy is optional and focused on organ and tissue donation. If you wish to become an organ or tissue donor, you can note your preferences here. You may indicate that any needed organs/tissues may be donated, specify certain organs/tissues that may be donated, and/or note any limitations, such as whether your organs and/or tissues are to be used for transplantation, research or educational purposes. Your health care agent has the authority to make decisions pertaining to organ and tissue donation, so it is important that they know what your wishes are regarding donation.
Organs can only be donated if you die while in a facility that can support continued cardiac/respiratory support (which is necessary to ensure that the organs remain viable). However, tissue, such as corneas, skin, or bones, may be donated even if you die at home (as long as action is taken within the necessary timeframe). No matter your age or health history (including HIV status), you may still be an organ or tissue donor – no one is automatically disqualified from being a donor.
If you do not state your wishes or instructions about organ and/or tissue donation on this form, it will not be taken to mean that you do not wish to make a donation or prevent a person, who is otherwise authorized by law, to consent to a donation on your behalf. In other words, since completing this section is optional, leaving it blank is not interpreted as meaning you do not want to be a donor.
Unlike the other optional sections of this form, this section requires your signature if you choose to complete it. Please remember to only sign this section once you are in the presence of your witnesses.
For more information about organ and tissue donation, we recommend visiting LiveOnNY’s website at https://www.liveonny.org/
In early 2021, we also held a webinar with LiveOnNY and the recording can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0d98qlZLA9w