Date registered: Aug 2002
Vehicle: 2021 SL770
Location: Fountain Hills, AZ
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Quoted: 544 Post(s)
Donated organs rejected because Tucson man was gay
Albert Soto, a Tucson actor and community activist who died Saturday, intended to donate his eyes and tissue after death, but both were rejected because he was gay.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has established guidelines allowing centers to reject donations from men who have had sex with men within the past five years, said Sara Pace Jones, a spokeswoman with the Donor Network of Arizona.
Soto, an administrator with the Tucson Pima Arts Council, died after suffering a stroke on Thanksgiving Day. Though Soto, 51, intended to be an organ donor, the organ recovery network rejected his donations.
The decision has outraged Soto's family members. They are trying to rally the support of local elected officials to have the guidelines changed.
"It's an odd thing to have to deal with," said Anthony Bernal, 32, Soto's godson and nephew.
"You're trying to mourn, but you're getting caught up in the trampoline of ups and downs of politics," Bernal said.
Bernal said Soto is being robbed of his last wish.
"It's unfortunate that it hinges on that issue," he said.
In addition to his eyes and tissue, Soto's other organs were rejected, but the reason is not clear.
Patient confidentiality bars the network from discussing specific cases, but Pace Jones said fewer than 1 percent of deaths result in suitable organ donations. In some cases, the cause of death can affect whether donations will be accepted.
Pace Jones urged others not to avoid signing the Arizona Donor Registry, a database of people who have agreed to be donors.
"There's definitely a shortage of organ donors, so we need everyone to sign up," Pace Jones said.
More than 44,000 people have signed, she added.
"Don't rule yourself out medically," she said. "You may be ruled out for tissue, but you may be able to donate organs for the purpose of transplantation."
"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon