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Lawmakers Mull Update of Pennsylvania Organ Donation Law

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(Tony Forte, wearing his medical backpack, and his mother, Monica, in a frame from a "Gift of Life" public service announcement promoting organ donations.  Video provided by Gift of Life)

(Tony Forte, wearing his medical backpack, and his mother, Monica, in a frame from a “Gift of Life” public service announcement promoting organ donations. Video provided by Gift of Life)

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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CBS Philly (con't)

Affordable Care Act Updates: CBSPhilly.com/ACA

Health News & Information: CBSPhilly.com/Health

By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — State lawmakers heard emotional testimony this week on a bill that would update Pennsylvania’s organ donation law.

With her eight-year-old son hooked up to a medical backpack by her side, Monica Forte of Lancaster, Pa. pleaded with lawmakers to pass a bill that supporters believe will make more organs available for transplant.

Forte spoke of how her son once reacted while watching a Pinnochio DVD:

“ ‘Mommy, I want to be like him. I don’t want these strings.’ For Tony to become a real boy, and free of the strings, it will take the transplant,” Monia Forte said.

Tony Forte (pronounced “fort”) is the poster child for the Philadelphia-based “Gift of Life” organ donor program.

A representative of the state’s coroners, however, testified about their concerns that the bill would hamper their ability to conduct investigations.

But supporters say the measure will simply standardize coroner practices and that organ donation does not preclude a full autopsy or investigation.

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