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I’m broken. As many of you now know, my husband Sean passed away friday night. Some of you in the inner circle I was able to reach via phone to try to let you know what happened before it spread across social media. For those I couldn’t reach to tell myself I’m sorry. I’m still trying to put together the events of that night. After coming home from work Friday night I found Sean unresponsive on the floor, I administered CPR with the assistance of the 911 operator and he was taken to a local hospital via ambulance. There is no cause of death and an autopsy will be performed. Sean and I just completed our yearly physicals about 3 weeks ago and we were both in good health. Sean did not have any sort of drug abuse issues and I’m still in a state of disbelief. I can’t begin to comprehend how my life and the lives of Seans close friends and family have just been shattered. That’s about all I’d like to share at this point. It feels strange to even have to make this post over such a private matter but I understand Sean was a public figure and beloved by many around the world. For myself, Seans family and close friends I ask that you please give us time to grieve. The fans he adored so much lost an influence and phenomenal drummer. Some of us lost our Husband, Son, Brother, Uncle and Best Friend. Thank You, -Tom & Patti (Seans husband and Seans sister)
A man says his dead husband’s healthy organs were refused by a hospital’s organ donation program because of his sexual orientation.
Sean Reinert was the drummer for the band Cynic and Ex-Death. He was considered by many to be one of metal’s most influential queer icons. He died unexpectedly last month at the age of 48.
“My husband Sean was an organ donor,” Tom Reinert writes on Facebook. “He believed that when he passed on if his organs could go to someone in need that it would be a great thing. He was incredibly kind and giving in every way imaginable as many of his closest friends are well aware.”
Tom explains that he was initially contacted by the hospital’s organ donation program the night of Sean’s death. Speaking to a representative from the program, he was asked to a litany of questions about Sean.
“After the first few standard questions she asked if Sean was a sexually active homosexual male,” Tom writes. “Without thinking I said ‘yes’ and almost without missing a beat she said ‘well, unfortunately that means….” and I went numb because I knew what she was about to say.”
The U.S. Public Health Service dictates that any male who has engaged in same-sex sexual contact in the past twelve months is considered at “increased risk” for HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. And while organ donations from these men are not totally prohibited, they are evaluated on a unique case-by-case basis.
The official guidelines state:
Since the emergence of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic, the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) has made recommendations to reduce the risk of HIV transmission associated with organ transplantation. Historically, recommendations included identifying risk factors among organ donors associated with HIV infection to minimize risk of potential transmission to recipients. … In 2013, based on donor-derived transmission events and reports of poor recipient outcome from hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV) transmission, the PHS released a revised guideline. The 2013 Guideline added organ donor screening recommendations for HBV (hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and total antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc)) and HCV (antibody to hepatitis C (anti-HCV) and NAT), in addition to HIV, to reduce the risk of unintended transmission through transplantation.
“Sean did not have HIV, or any other STD’s for that matter,” Tom explains. “But because he was a gay man living in America in 2020 he was not allowed one of his final wishes of donating his organs to help save another person’s life.”
He continues, “The government would rather let people waiting for a transplant die than give them one of Seans organs. As his husband it makes me sick to my stomach and incredibly angry.”