(a) Notwithstanding any other law, the coroner may, in the course of an autopsy, authorize the removal and release of corneal eye tissue from a body within the coroner’s custody, if all of the following conditions are met:
(1) The autopsy has otherwise been authorized.
(2) The coroner has no knowledge of objection to the removal and release of corneal tissue having been made by the decedent or any other person specified in Section 7151 of the Health and Safety Code and has obtained any one of the following:
(A) A dated and signed written consent by the donor or any other person specified in Section 7151 of the Health and Safety Code on a form that clearly indicates the general intended use of the tissue and contains the signature of at least one witness.
(B) Proof of the existence of a recorded telephonic consent by the donor or any other person specified in Section 7151 of the Health and Safety Code in the form of an audio recording of the conversation or a transcript of the recorded conversation, which indicates the general intended use of the tissue.
(C) A document recording a verbal telephonic consent by the donor or any other person specified in Section 7151 of the Health and Safety Code, witnessed and signed by no fewer than two members of the requesting entity, hospital, eye bank, or procurement organization, memorializing the consenting person’s knowledge of and consent to the general intended use of the gift.
The form of consent obtained under subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) shall be kept on file by the requesting entity and the official agency for a minimum of three years.
(3) The removal of the tissue will not unnecessarily mutilate the body, be accomplished by enucleation, nor interfere with the autopsy.
(4) The tissue will be removed by a licensed physician and surgeon or a trained transplant technician.
(5) The tissue will be released to a public or nonprofit facility for transplant, therapeutic, or scientific purposes.
(b) Neither the coroner nor medical examiner authorizing the removal of the corneal tissue, nor any hospital, medical center, tissue bank, storage facility, or person acting upon the request, order, or direction of the coroner or medical examiner in the removal of corneal tissue pursuant to this section, shall incur civil liability for the removal in an action brought by any person who did not object prior to the removal of the corneal tissue, nor be subject to criminal prosecution for the removal of the corneal tissue pursuant to this section.
(c) This section shall not be construed to interfere with the ability of a person to make an anatomical gift pursuant to the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 7150) of Part 1 of Division 7 of the Health and Safety Code).
(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 787, Sec. 5. (SB 1189) Effective January 1, 2017.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018