US: Dead man allegedly rejected as tissue donor ‘because he was gay’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A Pittsburgh man who died earlier this month was deemed not suitable as a tissue donor because he was gay, it has been alleged.

48-year-old Rohn Neugebauer died from a heart attack on the 16th of March, but his family say officials rejected his other organs and tissue for donation because of his sexuality, despite him being in a long-term relationship.

Sandy Schultheis, the man’s sister, claims that after he died she was asked a number of questions by a Centre for Organ Recovery and Education representative.

She says that when she reported that her brother had been in a long-term relationship with a man for eight years, she was told he wouldn’t be an eligible donor.

Neugebauer’s partner Dan Burda said: “It really makes me nauseous to think they declined him. I think it’s very prejudiced, implying that basically that gay people all have AIDS and HIV.”

“I feel that my corneas and skin and tissue are no different than any others, and they would test everybody regardless, so why I’m any different or why Rohn was any different is unacceptable.”

There is no absolute ban on gay men donating organs or tissue, and CDC guidelines state it should always be allowed when “the risk to the the recipient of not performing the transplant is deemed to be greater than the risk of HIV transmission and disease.”

According to ThinkProgress, there are currently 121,910 people on the waiting list for organ donations.