An Odessa family believes their son’s organs were harvested without permission by the Lubbock County Medical Examiner’s office. Their claim is among a growing list of allegations against the office of medical examiner.
Last year, Lubbock County Commissioners hired a company called NAAG to operate the office of medical examiner and Dr. Sam Andrews was appointed as the Chief Medical Examiner.
NAAG provided written instructions to its employees, contractors, and/or agents regarding procedures for “removing” and “preserving” tissue from children. EveryhtingLubbock.com acquired a copy of those instructions this month. Additionally, a fired employee sued NAAG, Andrews and Dr. Evan Matshes with allegations that body parts were taken for research without permission.
County Commissioner Jason Corley issued a memo in February saying that Dr. Matshes harvested and retained tissue of a child referred to Z.G. while unlicensed to practice medicine.
Corley claimed that on August 14, 2018, Matshes harvested the organs, cervical spinal column, and eyes of the deceased child.
The family of the deceased child identified him as 2-year-old Zaydrian Guerra. They gave written permission for Guerra’s heart and certain other organs to be donated for organ transplant to save others lives. But permission was denied for medical research.
At the time of Zaydrian’s death, a news release from the Odessa Police Department said Marqalo Flores was charged with Capital Murder for the boy’s death.
Alyssa Hammontree, Zaydrian’s mother, says there needed to be an autopsy because of the criminal charges. But the autopsy should have been respectful to her wishes.
“I have nightmares of just what they could’ve taken from him,” Hammontree said. “How could you do that to a baby?”
Hammontree asked, “How do you sit there and take something from him that shouldn’t have been taken?”
Hammontree gave EverythingLubbock.com Donor ID documents which specifically state, “no” to research and “no” to teaching and education purposes.
Hammontree says she wanted his organs to go to children who needed a donation.
“I allowed the heart and the heart vessels, the lungs, the pancreas, the liver and the kidney,” Hammontree said. “I wanted my son to still be intact, just what they absolutely needed for the other children.”
EverythingLubbock.com reached out to LifeGift, the not-for-profit organ procurement organization that recovers organs and tissue for individuals needing a donation. Refer back to this article for updated information.
Hammontree says she has not received an autopsy report from the Lubbock County Medical Examiner’s office. EverythingLubbock.com called the medical examiner’s office for copies of autopsy reports, but did not receive a call back.