New law puts a spotlight on organ donation

Posted at: 10/10/2013 11:36 PM
By: Amanda Ciavarri

Have you spoken with your family about organ donation? If you haven't, you should soon, because the next time you go to get your license you will need to know where you stand.

It's all because of Lauren's Law, which recently went into effect. For years, in New York State we've had the option to choose to become an organ donor when we renewed our license. But now, you will be required to state your choice.

You might be wondering, if it was already on the application, why make it a requirement to answer? The thought behind Lauren's Law is that often times people skip the part of the application that isn't required, so they don't give donation any thought.

"Sometimes it is just a matter of asking," says County Clerk Cheryl Dinolfo. "If you ask people would you like to do this, are you interested in becoming an organ donor?"

Helene Ehman told News10NBC the importance of knowing where your loved ones stand.

"We brought him in on Saturday night and the doctors came in and said Scott has no brain function," says Ehman. "You are in crisis and you don't know and he said 'would you be willing to donate Scott's organs?'"

That was three years ago when Ehman had to make the tough decision when her 29-year-old son died.

Ehman says, "I knew he had talked about it with his brother and sister and that was his wishes. So that's what we did."

She says knowing what her son wanted was one less thing she and her family had to think about at such a difficult time.

"When they asked about organ donation immediately I felt, wow, something good is going to come out of this horrible tragedy and it did."

In New York State, 29 percent of eligible people are enrolled as organ donors. We're told there are ten thousand people in the state waiting for an organ donation and 700 in Monroe County.

The Monroe County Clerk says in the last few years there has been an increase in people signing up.

Also, if you are worried about how visible the donor marking will be on the new black and white licenses. There will be a similar marking on those licenses and we hear will be in color, so it will stand out.

News10NBC also went out to ask some people about this new law. Here's what some of them told us.

Joe Schultz of Rochester says "I certainly don't really see a problem with it. If in the past the question was there I guess it's really the same matter as far as I'm concerned. It's a yes or no answer. I think you're going to be comfortable either way."

Ravi Patel says, "It's better to have people answer the question then to have whoever's on the other end guessing. So I guess it makes sense in that regard, but I don't know. It's a difficult question and it's kind of a personal question."