Anatomical Gift/Donation Process
Recognizing the fact that organ and tissue donation/transplantation saves or improves thousands of lives each year, the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office has partnered with the local medical community to ensure that, whenever possible, we accommodate those who wish to donate life-saving organs and tissue. When an individual is in a hospital setting on life support and death is imminent, the organ procurement agencies will work closely with the family to provide information and assistance regarding the donation process. If the family makes a donation request, following the death of the loved one the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office will work collaboratively with the hospital staff, the organ/tissue procurement agencies, and the family to ensure the request is accommodated. Without a formal request from the decedent or the immediate family, anatomical gift donations are not permitted in Santa Clara County. Any decisions relating to the involvement of the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office in the anatomical gift/donation process will be guided by legal statute and established policy.
Tissues for Donation and the Benefits
- Corneas - Prevents blindness and restores vision.
- Whole Eyes - Used in the reconstruction of the eye orbit or reconstruction of the eye surface. This donation also assists in medical training and research into the causes and cures for blindness.
- Bone - Promotes healing, restores mobility and prevents amputation. This donation can assist research in the causes and cures of orthopedic bone defects, diseases and trauma.
- Skin - Promotes healing, prevents fluid loss and helps decrease infection in burn and trauma patients. This donation greatly aids reconstructive surgery.
- Heart Valves - These are used as a replacement for a defective valve, which is especially important as the new graft valve does not calcify and there is no rejection of tissue. This procedure is especially beneficial for children with cardiac-related issues.
- Saphenous Veins - These veins restore blood circulation and can prevent limb amputations.
- Soft Tissues - Tendons and ligaments restore a person’s mobility and enhance their life.