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Representatives Harris, Plakon and Senator Stewart Introduce Nancy’s Law

Orlando State Representative Rita Harris, Longwood State Representative Rachel Plakon, and Orlando State Senator Linda Stewart filed the bipartisan Nancy’s Law, House Bill 1053 and Senate Bill 1186. This legislation intends to streamline the process for organ donations by live donors.

Nancy Whited, an amazing Orlando resident who did much for her community and loved ones, suffered from polycystic kidney disease and scleroderma, and her declining kidney function required her to have kidney dialysis and eventually a kidney transplant. Unfortunately, Nancy was removed from the kidney transplant list due to complications from an error in a prescribed medication that affected her bone marrow. Despite her reluctance to ask, several individuals stepped forward as live donor candidates for Nancy, resulting in two candidates who were perfect matches. Though one donor’s paperwork seemed to get lost in the administrative process, the other donor moved further in the process, but it took nine months to get the appropriate tests scheduled. When Nancy went in for the transplant procedure, her cardiac function had decreased so significantly that the procedure caused her to go into heart failure, which eventually ended her life.

While one cannot definitively state that an earlier transplant would have extended Nancy’s life significantly, any reasonable person would say that a healthier organ donor recipient is more likely to have a better outcome.

This legislation will direct the Florida Department of Health to adopt rules that will streamline the process of medical testing by living organ donors and the transfer of medical records between physicians of donors and recipients.

“For me, this is so personal to me because Nancy was my friend. Anyone that knew Nancy knew how incredibly kind she was. She was also incredibly passionate about educating the community about organ donation and the obstacles people face in the process,” said Representative Harris, a Democrat. “While Nancy is no longer with us, her story will be a legacy and tireless advocacy will continue to help others.  May her memory continue to be a blessing.”

“I’m proud to stand with Representative Harris on this important bipartisan legislation,” said Representative Plakon, a Republican. “With over 5,000 Floridians waiting for life-saving organ donations, Nancy’s Law will streamline the process with the ultimate goal of saving lives.”

“It is important that we reevaluate our processes from time to time so that we do not end up in a system that delays critical care,” said Senator Stewart, a Democrat. “It is unacceptable for redundant and inefficient administrative procedures to hold up potentially life-saving transplants.”

View House Bill 1053 and Senate Bill 1186 for more information.

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