Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Man's Organs Removed Before He Was Dead

Man’s organs removed without proof he was dead, Colorado coroner finds
Published Tuesday, October 5, 2004

DENVER (AP) - A western Colorado coroner said yesterday that two hospitals
allowed vital organs to be removed from a man before they had proved he
was brain-dead, and he declared the death a homicide.

The cause of William Rardin’s death was "removal of his internal organs by
an organ-recovery team," Montrose County Coroner Mark Young said. He said
he did not believe the case should be a criminal matter but said it
"should lead to a clarification of what the accepted standard is."

Young said Montrose Memorial Hospital in Montrose and St. Mary’s Hospital
in Grand Junction did not follow "accepted medical standards" or meet
state guidelines in determining that 31-year-old William Rardin was
brain-dead after he shot himself last month.

Rardin’s heart, liver, pancreas and two kidneys were transplanted into
waiting patients.

Officials with St. Mary’s and the organization that coordinates organ
donation in Colorado and Wyoming insisted the surgeons followed rules and
did nothing wrong.

Young said that each hospital performed a test that did not prove Rardin
was dead and that more tests should have been done.

Rardin was brought to Montrose Memorial on Sept. 26 and declared
brain-dead, Young said. He then was taken by helicopter to St. Mary’s,
where he again was declared brain-dead and surgeons removed his organs.