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Resource ID: #14278
Subject: County Government
Source: Los Angeles Times
Date: 1998-01-14



The Times exposed an extensive abuse of a little-known state law that allowed the Los Angeles County Dept. of Coroner/Medical Examiner to sell thousands of corneas from homicide, suicide and accident victims without the knowledge or permission from the next-of-kin, many of whom were within easy reach by telephone or death scenes. Under a "cost recovery" contract, the county collected between $215 and $335 per pair of corneas recovered by a prominent local eye bank, which then marked up the tissue 1,400 % to transplant institutions. The pressure to use the county morgue as a source of corneas was so great that some former eye bank technicians said the practice bordered on the ghoulish, with tissue taken in some cases from dead donors considered medically risky under federal guidelines.

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