A new partnership between the Ottawa Police Service and Trillium Gift of Life Network will see police officers help identify victims of fatal crashes or sudden deaths who could become tissue donors.
Police are often the first on the scene of a death. Tissue donors need to be referred within 12 hours of death in order to preserve the opportunity for donation.
"One donor can save or enhance up to 75 others' lives, so it's (an) incredible impact," said Dr. Sarah Lawrence, a local coroner. "Most people don't realize that after you die, you still can be a donor."
Tissue donations can include eyes, skin, bone, tendons and ligaments.
Police officers will determine if the person is under 75 years old and has been dead less than 12 hours. Along with the paramedics and the coroner's office, they will see if the person is a donor or -- if they haven't already registered -- whether their family would consider donating the deceased person's tissue.
This initiative is a first-of-its-kind partnership between Trillium Gift of Life Network and a police service in Ontario.