Organ and Tissue Donation
A goal of the Washoe County Regional Medical Examiner's Office is to facilitate organ and tissue donation for the benefit of the family of the deceased and the community in cases in which the next of kin desires and consents to organ and/or tissue donation. We have strong community partnerships with organ and tissue procurement agencies, and work collaboratively for the benefit of all.
Organ donation typically occurs in the hospital in those individuals who have suffered a devastating injury or disease process resulting in brain death, or immediately following the pronouncement of cardiac death in select cases.
Tissue donation can occur within the first 24 hours following death, whether death occurs in the hospital or elsewhere. Tissues that may be donated include heart valves, corneas, skin, bones, and other soft tissues.
When the circumstances of death include injury, violence, or other means falling under the Washoe County Regional Medical Examiner's jurisdiction, the Medical Examiner must be contacted prior to donation to approve the donation, and to ensure that any evidence collection or documentation necessary occurs prior to the donation procedure. The Washoe County Regional Medical Examiner’s mission to preserve evidence, provide documentation of injury or disease, and ultimately, determine cause and manner of death, can be accomplished while still allowing the decedent and his/her family to make the gift of life.
While organ procurement surgeries must occur at a hospital, tissue procurement may be done in other facilities. The WCRMEO has a dedicated tissue procurement operating room, and partners with Nevada Donor Network to provide the opportunity for tissue donation to those who die outside of a hospital setting. The legal next-of-kin of the deceased has the ultimate authority to consent for organ or tissue donation.
From left to right, Assistant County Manager Kate Thomas, County Manager John Slaughter, Chief Medical Examiner & Coroner Dr. Laura D. Knight, and County Commissioner Bob Lucey at the flag signing ceremony for the 2018 Donate Life Transplant Games of America.