Legal Aspects of Donation

In Florida and throughout the country, a legal framework exists to support the sharing of life through organ and tissue donation.

Joshua Abbott Organ & Tissue Donor Registry - 2008
In 2008, the State of Florida passed new legislation allowing for a new and improved registry system. Designating the state's registry as the Joshua Abbott Organ & Tissue Donor Registry, individuals will no longer have to visit their local driver license office or mail a registry form to the Agency for Health Care Administration to designate their wishes as organ and tissue donors. Instead, people will have the option to designate their wishes via a secure Web site beginning Summer 2009.

Florida's Nick Oelrich Gift of Life Act - 2003
In the State of Florida, an individual's wish to donate life to others will be honored. The Nick Oelrich Gift of Life Act prohibits modification of a donor's intent, providing that appropriate legal documentation exists. The decision to donate organs and tissue can be made with a signed and witnessed donor card, living will/advance directive, driver's license or other written form indicating the wish to donate life.

Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) "Required Request" Federal Law - 1986
  • Mandates the establishment of organ donor programs to coordinate the recovery and transplantation process at the local level.
  • Requires hospitals to establish a relationship with their federally-designated organ donor program.
  • Directs hospitals, as a condition of eligibility to receive Medicare and Medicaid funding, to establish protocols for informing families of the opportunity to donate life.
National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA) - 1984
  • Prohibits the buying and selling of organs.
  • Requires establishment of the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) contracted the OPTN and now manages organ distribution.
  • Prohibits the physicians who care for patients and declare death from being involved with organ and tissue recovery organizations.
Uniform Determination of Death Act - 1980
  • Establishes that the irreversible cessation of all brain function constitutes death in the same way as cessation of heartbeat and respiration.
  • Under Florida's Brain Death Statute, death is to be declared by two licensed physicians unrelated to the donor program. One physician is to be a neurologist, neurosurgeon, internist, pediatrician, surgeon or anesthesiologist.

Uniform Anatomical Gift Act - 1968
Authorizes the gift of life at death for transplantation, research or education.