PITTSBURGH — A 48-year-old man who died of a heart attack on March 16 in Pittsburgh was deemed ineligible for organ donation though he’d been an advocate for the Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) and had co-hosted a benefit for the organization earlier this year, Think Progress reports.
A few hours after Rohn Neugebaur died, his sister, Sandy Schultheis, told ThinkProgress that a CORE representative told her Neugebauer was ineligible because he’d been in a same-sex relationship, the article said.
CDC guidelines say “men who have had sex with another man in the preceding five years … should be excluded from donation of organs or tissues unless the risk to the recipient of not performing the transplant is deemed to be greater than the risk of HIV transmission and disease,” the article said. It notes “emergent, life-threatening illness requiring transplantation when no other organ tissues are available and no other lifesaving therapies exist.”
A CORE employee told WPXI, a regional Pittsburgh news agency that covered the story, that they couldn’t comment on Neugebaur’s case but said the FDA prohibits the donation of human tissues from male donors who have been sexually active in the five years preceding their deaths, a stipulation that Think Progress said doesn’t apply to organ donation.
Though there are similarities to the rules on organ donation for gay men and blood donation, the American Medical Association told Think Progress that decisions should be based on “individual level of risk” rather than sexual orientation. Think Progress said calls to CORE for comment were not returned.