Regulatory Amendment Extends Storage for Historically Retained Organs
TORONTO, June 5, 2013 /CNW/ -
The Ontario Forensic Pathology Service and the Office of the Chief
Coroner are giving families more time to inquire about organs retained
after coroner-ordered autopsies.
Starting last summer, families were given one year to inquire about
family members who had undergone coroners' investigations and autopsies
before June 14, 2010. In these cases, it is possible that an organ was
retained and is now in storage at a hospital or forensic pathology
Since public notification began in June 2012, it has become clear that
people need more time to decide whether they wish to request
information about autopsies. A recent regulatory amendment to the Coroners Act allows these organs to be kept for a minimum of five more years, unless
the family provides disposition instructions.
Before 2010, organs were often retained for further testing after an
autopsy to determine the cause of death or, in some cases, to help
determine whether the deceased person's family members were at risk. At
the time, information shared with families was sometimes limited to
spare them further grief. As a result, some families were not notified
that an organ was retained.
The policies and regulations of the death investigation system have
evolved. Since June 14, 2010, Regulation 180 of the Coroners Act has ensured that families are notified when an organ is retained, and
that they have an opportunity to express their wishes regarding
"Whether or not people want to learn about their loved one's case is a
personal decision.By extending the retention period, we hope to ensure
everyone is afforded the time they need to consider this sensitive
— Dr. Michael Pollanen, Chief Forensic Pathologist for Ontario
"We are committed to providing answers to those who contact us and to
carrying out their wishes wherever possible."
— Dr. Dan Cass, Interim Chief Coroner for Ontario
Immediate family members and personal representatives (i.e. those
responsible for administering an estate) are invited to contact the
Ontario Forensic Pathology Service and the Office of the Chief Coroner
at 1-855-564-4122or send an email to OrganRetention@ontario.ca to find out if an organ was retained.
If an organ was retained and remains in storage, the family or personal
representative may request that the organ be sent to a funeral home for
cremation or burial, at the expense of the Ontario Forensic Pathology
Service and the Office of the Chief Coroner.
Read more about organ retention in Ontario after coroner-ordered
Visit the organ retention website.
Disponible en français
PDF available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2013/06/05/20130605_C5462_DOC_EN_27574.pdf
SOURCE: Office of the Chief Coroner & Ontario Forensic Pathology Service
For further information:
Ontario Forensic Pathology Service and
Office of the Chief Coroner