Washoe County Announcement

Top headlines to know from Board of County Commissioners meeting
Washoe County Medical Examiner launches tissue donation program

Media Release
For Immediate Release

Contact: Amy Ventetuolo

Reno, Nev. Sept. 26, 2017. The following report highlights several important agenda items from the Washoe County Board of Commissioners meeting.

1. County Commissioners unanimously approve Medical Examiner to begin tissue donation program.  The Washoe County Regional Medical Examiner’s Office received approval to launch an in-house tissue donation program beginning early October. Approval included utilizing a portion of the Medical Examiner’s Office for tissue recovery purposes, an additional full-time employee to help facilitate the program, and an agreement with Nevada Donor Network, the only Nevada-based organ and tissue donation agency. Nevada Donor Network has a strong track record with other Nevada Medical Examiner and Coroner offices.   

“This program has been a long time coming in Washoe County,” remarks Dr. Laura Knight, Washoe County Chief Medical Examiner and Coroner. “The new Medical Examiner facility was designed with tissue donation in mind. This reflects a dedication to provide robust services to our community, as tissue donation can save and improve lives. Additionally giving the gift of life can allow loved ones to bring something positive out of the tragedies that we deal with on a daily basis at the Medical Examiner’s Office.”

The launch of the program includes postmortem tissue donation which consists of procurement of corneas, skin, bones, and other tissue from recently deceased individuals, with the consent of their next-of-kin. These tissues can be used for transplantation, with some common applications including restoration of sight through corneal transplant, treatment of life-threatening burns with skin grafts, and surgical repair of musculoskeletal injuries. The tissue donation agency, Nevada Donor Network, will conduct the consent process which includes reaching out to families to request their deceased family member become a donor. Many Nevadans express their wish to save and heal lives by registering as a donor at the DMV or online.

In addition to the approved tissue donation program, Commissioners approved the Medical Examiner to work with Renown Regional Medical Center on an autopsy partnership. The partnership will allow Renown pathologists to perform needed hospital-consent autopsies to determine cause of death at the Medical Examiner’s facility.

2. Commissioners approve partnership between Washoe County Regional Animal Services and Truckee Meadows Community College.

A long-standing community agreement continues, as the Board of County Commissioners approve to continue the agreement between Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC) and Washoe County Regional Animal Services (WCRAS). For five years, the Veterinary Technician Program has worked collaboratively with WCRAS to receive a unique opportunity for their vet tech students to see animals that do not receive routine veterinary care. Students are given a unique learning opportunity to broaden their skills and in turn with the assistance of TMCC teaching staff, WCRAS is able to increase the number of animals that receive care, allowing them to keep up with the demand for services.

“We are so pleased to continue this agreement with TMCC and provide valuable experiences and needed services to the community,” says Shyanne Schull, Director of Regional Animal Services. “Not only does this help the students, but allows us to help more animals. We are happy to see this mutually beneficial program continue.”

3.  County Commissioners approve Washoe County Sheriff’s Office to establish an e-commerce zone. During the 79th session of the Nevada Legislature, Assembly Bill 297 (AB 297) created a requirement that at least one e-commerce zone be established. This zone is intended to serve as a place where the sales of personal property initiated on the Internet can be safely completed.  The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) has identified two parking spaces on their property to complete these transactions. The identified spaces are in view of the public, well-lit and continuously under video surveillance, meeting the criteria in AB 297.

Due to online exchanges, like Craigslist, posing the potential to result in theft or a violent encounter, the e-commerce zone was created to provide the community with a safe location where online transactions can be completed without fear of victimization.

4. Approval of ArTrail Grant. The Board of County Commissioners approved an Our Town grant award for the Washoe ArTrail project, from the National Endowment for the Arts in the amount of $75,000  with a $81,071 cash match.  The County in partnership with Burning Man and multiple community partners will develop a public participatory experience through an ArTrail that celebrates cultural, historic and artistic landmarks. The ArTrail will route along the Truckee River through the cities of Reno and Sparks, turn north to historic Lake Pyramid on Paiute Tribal land, and continue to Gerlach in the far northern region of Washoe County, over 200 miles.