TAMPA, Fla. — A widow is suing LifeLink, an organ recovery agency based in Tampa after she said her husband's heart was taken without her permission.
Duane Mulville died suddenly in June of 2017. His family believes he may have died from a heart attack.
His family said Duane appeared to be healthy. He was a former catcher for the Clearwater Phillies.
"He was amazing. He was the best dad in the world. He loved his kids. He was my best friend," said Beverly Mulville, Duane's wife.
The lawsuit filed in Hillsborough County alleges negligence and states the LifeLink began pressuring and harassing Duane's widow, Beverly Mulville, for her consent to remove Duane's organs.
"You can barely believe you’re in this situation. It feels like you’re in this nightmare, trying to make big decisions and it's a very tough time," said Mulville.
The lawsuit states Duane passed away in Georgia and he had not consented to be a donor in Georgia. His family said Duane was registered as an organ donor in North Carolina.
Mulville said she never gave LifeLink permission to remove Duane's heart. His family wanted to have an autopsy performed to learn the cause of death.
A spokesperson for LifeLink said they can't comment on the lawsuit, but said the agency follows all laws governing organ and tissue donation.
The Uniform Anatomical Gift Act says a donor's decision is final and family can't override that decision.
"If it can happen to us, it can happen to anybody," said Mulville.