Donor Network Sues for Indiana Gunshot Victim’s Organs

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (CN) –The Indiana Donor Network claims in court that Allen County officials have refused to allow the donation of an Indiana man’s organs after his impending death, despite the consent of him and his family.

John Doe, 31, was shot in the head on Thursday and is now on life support but is expected to be declared brain dead soon, according to a lawsuit IDN filed the day of the shooting in Allen County Superior Court.

The donor network says Doe voluntarily listed himself as a designated donor and his mother and father want to honor that decision.

“IDN has been in contact with the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office and [Prosecutor] Karen Richards to effectuate Mr. Doe’s stated desire that his organs be procured for donation following his impending death,” the complaint states. “Ms. Richards has refused these requests, and has expressed an unwillingness to allow the organ procurement to occur.”

In addition to Richards, the Allen County Coroner’s Office and Coroner Dr. Craig Nelson are also named as defendants in the lawsuit, which was filed on IDN’s behalf by attorney Bryan Babb with Indianapolis firm Bose McKinney & Evans.

Neither Richards’ office nor IDN immediately responded Monday to email requests for comment.

The donor network says the defendants have not provided any medical or clinical reasons why the organ procurement should not take place.

They have been investigating Doe’s death as a homicide, but the alleged culprit already confessed to police and has asked to plead guilty, according to the complaint.

“Donation of organs in Mr. Doe’s body other than his head for purposes of transplantation may occur, without interfering with the Allen County Coroner’s Office’s continuing examination or the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office’s investigation,” the lawsuit states.

An organ donor can potentially provide a heart, two kidneys, two lungs, a liver, a pancreas, intestines and several other vital organs, according to the complaint.

IDN says the timing of organ procurement “is vitally important to insuring the viability of organs available for potential transplant.”

The donor network wants a judge to declare that the named Allen County officials must cooperate with organ procurement groups, consult about recovering the organs, and allow procurement to move forward unless they can establish that the body must be undisturbed for evidentiary purposes.

IDN is one of 58 designated organ recovery nonprofits in the United States.

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