Rhode Island Anatomical Gift Law

Uniform Anatomical Gift – General – Rhode Island

§ 23-18.6.1-4 Who may make anatomical gift before donor’s death.

An anatomical gift of a donor’s body or part may be made during the life of the donor for the purpose of transplantation, therapy, research, or education by:

(1) The donor, if the donor is an adult or if the donor is a minor and is:

(i) Emancipated; or

(ii) Authorized under state law to apply for a driver’s license because the donor is at least sixteen (16) years of age;

(2) An agent of the donor, unless the power of attorney for health care or other record prohibits the agent from making an anatomical gift;

(3) A parent of the donor, if the donor is an unemancipated minor; or

(4) The donor’s guardian.

§ 23-18.6.1-5 Manner of making anatomical gift before donor’s death.

A donor may make an anatomical gift:

(1) By authorizing a statement or symbol indicating that the donor has made an anatomical gift to be imprinted on the donor’s driver’s license or identification card;

(2) In a will;

(3) During a terminal illness or injury of the donor, by any form of communication addressed to at least two (2) adults, at least one of whom is a disinterested witness; or

(4) As provided in subsection (b).

A donor or other person authorized to make an anatomical gift under this chapter may make a gift by authorizing inclusion of the donor on a donor registry, a donor card or other record signed by the donor or other person making the gift. If the donor or other person is physically unable to sign a record, the record may be signed by another individual at the direction of the donor or other person and must:

(1) Be witnessed by at least two (2) adults, at least one of whom is a disinterested witness, who have signed at the request of the donor or the other person; and

(2) State that it has been signed and witnessed as provided in paragraph (1).

Revocation, suspension, expiration, or cancellation of a driver’s license or identification card upon which an anatomical gift is indicated does not invalidate the gift.

An anatomical gift made by will takes effect upon the donor’s death whether or not the will is probated. Invalidation of the will after the donor’s death does not invalidate the gift.

§ 23-18.6.1-6 Amending or revoking anatomical gift before donor’s death.

A donor or other person authorized to make an anatomical gift may amend or revoke an anatomical gift by:

(1) A record signed by:

(i) The donor;

(ii) The other person so authorized; or

(iii) Subject to subsection (b), another individual acting at the direction of the donor or the other person so authorized if the donor or other person is physically unable to sign; or

(2) A later-executed document of gift that amends or revokes a previous anatomical gift or portion of an anatomical gift, either expressly or by inconsistency.

A record signed pursuant to paragraph (a)(1)(iii) must:

(1) Be witnessed by at least two (2) adults, at least one of whom is a disinterested witness, who have signed at the request of the donor or the other person; and

(2) State that it has been signed and witnessed as provided in subdivision (1).

A donor or other person authorized to make an anatomical gift may revoke an anatomical gift by the destruction or cancellation of the document of gift, or the portion of the document of gift used to make the gift, with the intent to revoke the gift.

A donor may amend or revoke an anatomical gift that was not made in a will by any form of communication during a terminal illness or injury addressed to at least two (2) adults, at least one of whom is a disinterested witness.

A donor who makes an anatomical gift in a will may amend or revoke the gift in the manner provided for amendment or revocation of wills or as provided in this chapter.

§ 23-18.6.1-7 Refusal to make anatomical gift – Effect of refusal.

An individual may refuse to make an anatomical gift of the individual’s body or part by:

(1) A record signed by:

(i) The individual; or

(ii) Subject to subsection (b), another individual acting at the direction of the individual if the individual is physically unable to sign;

(2) The individual’s will, whether or not the will is admitted to probate or invalidated after the individual’s death; or

(3) Any form of communication made by the individual during the individual’s terminal illness or injury addressed to at least two (2) adults, at least one of whom is a disinterested witness.

A record signed pursuant to paragraph (a)(1)(ii) must:

(1) Be witnessed by at least two (2) adults, at least one of whom is a disinterested witness, who have signed at the request of the individual; and

(2) State that it has been signed and witnessed as provided in paragraph (1).

An individual who has made a refusal may amend or revoke the refusal:

(1) In the manner provided in subsection (a) for making a refusal;

(2) By subsequently making an anatomical gift pursuant to the provisions of this chapter that is inconsistent with the refusal; or

(3) By destroying or canceling the record evidencing the refusal, or the portion of the record used to make the refusal, with the intent to revoke the refusal.

In the absence of an express, contrary indication by the individual set forth in the refusal, an individual’s unrevoked refusal to make an anatomical gift of the individual’s body or part bars all other persons from making an anatomical gift of the individual’s body or part.

§ 23-18.6.1-8 Preclusive effect of anatomical gift, amendment or revocation.

In the absence of an express, contrary indication by the donor, a person other than the donor is barred from making, amending, or revoking an anatomical gift of a donor’s body or part if the donor made an anatomical gift of the donor’s body or part in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

A donor’s revocation of an anatomical gift of the donor’s body or part shall not be a refusal and does not bar another authorized person specified in this chapter from making an anatomical gift of the donor’s body or part.

If a person other than the donor makes an unrevoked anatomical gift of the donor’s body or part, or an amendment to an anatomical gift of the donor’s body or part, another person may not make, amend, or revoke the gift of the donor’s body or part under the provisions of this chapter.

A revocation of an anatomical gift of a donor’s body or part by a person other than the donor does not bar another person from making an anatomical gift of the body or part under the provisions of this chapter.

In the absence of an express, contrary indication by the donor or other person authorized to make an anatomical gift in accordance with this chapter, an anatomical gift of a part is neither a refusal to give another part nor a limitation on the making of an anatomical gift of another part at a later time by the donor or another person.

In the absence of an express, contrary indication by the donor or other person authorized to make an anatomical gift in accordance with this chapter, an anatomical gift of a part for one or more of the purposes set forth in § 23-18.6.1-4 is not a limitation on the making of an anatomical gift of the part for any of the other purposes by the donor or any other person under the provisions of this chapter.

If a donor who is an unemancipated minor dies, a parent of the donor who is reasonably available may revoke or amend an anatomical gift of the donor’s body or part.

If an unemancipated minor who signed a refusal dies, a parent of the minor who is reasonably available may revoke the minor’s refusal.

§ 23-18.6.1-9 Who may make anatomical gift of decedent’s body or part.

An anatomical gift of a decedent’s body or part for purpose of transplantation, therapy, research, or education may be made by any member of the following classes of persons who is reasonably available, in the order of priority listed:

(1) An agent of the decedent at the time of death who could have made an anatomical gift pursuant to this chapter immediately before the decedent’s death;

(2) The spouse of the decedent or the certified domestic partner of the decedent as defined in subsections 36-12-1(3) and 45-19-4.3(b) or any other provision of state law;

(3) Adult children of the decedent;

(4) Parents of the decedent;

(5) Adult siblings of the decedent;

(6) Adult grandchildren of the decedent;

(7) Grandparents of the decedent;

(8) An adult who exhibited special care and concern for the decedent, who is familiar with the decedent’s personal values, and who had maintained regular contact with the decedent prior to his or her death; provided, however, it shall not include any medical personnel caring for the decedent at the time of or immediately leading up to the decedent’s death; and

(9) The persons who were acting as the guardians of the person of the decedent at the time of death.

If there is more than one member of a class listed in the previous subsection which is entitled to make an anatomical gift, an anatomical gift may be made by a member of the class unless that member or a person to which the gift may pass under the provisions of this chapter knows of an objection by another member of the class. If an objection is known, the gift may be made only by a majority of the members of the class who are reasonably available.

A person may not make an anatomical gift if, at the time of the decedent’s death, a person in a prior class under subsection (a) is reasonably available to make or to object to the making of an anatomical gift.


§ 23-18.6.1-10 Manner of making, amending or revoking anatomical gift of decedent’s body or part.

A person authorized to make an anatomical gift under § 23-18.6.1-9 may make an anatomical gift by a document of gift signed by the person making the gift or by that person’s oral communication that is electronically recorded or is contemporaneously reduced to a record and signed by the individual receiving the oral communication.

An anatomical gift by a person authorized under § 23-18.6.1-9 may be amended or revoked orally or in a record by any member of a prior class who is reasonably available. If more than one member of the prior class is reasonably available, the gift made by a person authorized under § 23-18.6.1-9 may be:

(1) Amended only if a majority of the reasonably available members agree to the amending of the gift; or

(2) Revoked only if a majority of the reasonably available members agree to the revoking of the gift or if they are equally divided as to whether to revoke the gift.

A revocation under subsection (b) is effective only if, before an incision has been made to remove a part from the donor’s body or before invasive procedures have begun to prepare the recipient, the procurement organization, transplant hospital, or physician or technician knows of the revocation.

§ 23-18.6.1-11 Persons that may receive anatomical gift – Purpose of anatomical gift.

An anatomical gift may be made to the following persons named in the document of gift:

(1) A hospital; accredited medical school, dental school, college, or university; organ procurement organization; or other appropriate person, for research or education;

(2) Subject to subsection (b), an individual designated by the person making the anatomical gift if the individual is the recipient of the part;

(3) An eye bank or tissue bank.

If an anatomical gift to an individual under subdivision (a)(2) cannot be transplanted into the individual, the part passes in accordance with subsection (g) in the absence of a known, express, contrary indication by the person making the anatomical gift.

If an anatomical gift of one or more specific parts or of all parts is made in a document of gift that does not name a person described in subsection (a) but identifies the purpose for which an anatomical gift may be used, the following rules apply:

(1) If the part is an eye and the gift is for the purpose of transplantation or therapy, the gift passes to the appropriate eye bank.

(2) If the part is tissue and the gift is for the purpose of transplantation or therapy, the gift passes to the appropriate tissue bank.

(3) If the part is an organ and the gift is for the purpose of transplantation or therapy, the gift passes to the appropriate organ procurement organization as custodian of the organ.

(4) If the part is an organ, an eye, or tissue and the gift is for the purpose of research or education, the gift passes to the appropriate procurement organization.

For the purpose of subsection (c), if there is more than one purpose of an anatomical gift set forth in the document of gift but the purposes are not set forth in any priority, the gift must be used for transplantation or therapy, if suitable. If the gift cannot be used for transplantation or therapy, the gift may be used for research or education.

If an anatomical gift of one or more specific parts is made in a document of gift that does not name a person described in subsection (a) and does not identify the purpose of the gift, the gift passes in accordance with subsection (g) and must be used for transplantation or therapy, if suitable. If the gift cannot be used for transplantation or therapy, the gift may be used for research or education.

If a document of gift specifies only a general intent to make an anatomical gift by words such as “donor”, “organ donor”, or “body donor”, or by a symbol or statement of similar import, the gift passes in accordance with subsection (g) and must be used for transplantation or therapy, if suitable. If the gift cannot be used for transplantation or therapy, the gift may be used for research or education.

For purposes of subsections (b), (e), and (f) the following rules apply:

(1) If the part is an eye, the gift passes to the appropriate eye bank.

(2) If the part is tissue, the gift passes to the appropriate tissue bank.

(3) If the part is an organ, the gift passes to the appropriate organ procurement organization as custodian of the organ.

An anatomical gift of an organ for transplantation or therapy, other than an anatomical gift under subdivision (a)(2), passes to the organ procurement organization as custodian of the organ.

If an anatomical gift does not pass pursuant to subsections (a) through (h) or the decedent’s body or part is not used for transplantation, therapy, research, or education, custody of the body or part passes to the person under obligation to dispose of the body or part.

A person may not accept an anatomical gift if the person knows that the gift was not effectively made in accordance with this chapter or if the person knows that the decedent made a refusal in accordance with this chapter that was not revoked. For purposes of the subsection, if a person knows that an anatomical gift was made on a document of gift, the person is deemed to know of any amendment or revocation of the gift or any refusal to make an anatomical gift on the same document of gift.

Nothing in this chapter affects the allocation of organs for transplantation or therapy.

§ 23-18.6.1-13 Delivery of document of gift not required – Right to examine.

A document of gift need not be delivered during the donor’s lifetime to be effective.

Upon or after an individual’s death, a person in possession of a document of gift or a refusal to make an anatomical gift with respect to the individual shall allow examination and copying of the document of gift or refusal by a person authorized to make or object to the making of an anatomical gift with respect to the individual or by a person to which the gift could pass pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
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Inside Rhode Island Anatomical Gift Law