Should Trauma Physicians Treat a Severely Injured Patient for the Sake of Elucidating Preferences about Organ Donation?
AMA Journal of Ethics, May 2018
Organ donation potential is not a motivator of care in the trauma bay, and it is ethically problematic to consider organ donor potential during the active resuscitation of a trauma patient. Despite organ donation being a public good, the role of the trauma physician is to maintain focus on the patient as an individual and to respect a patient's right to life and autonomy. This tenet of medicine is the foundation of the trust that a community and individuals must have in order for the health care system to function. Fortunately, there are guidelines and systems in place to allow physicians to care for the patient in front of them while simultaneously making morally sound decisions regarding donation in the setting of the current organ shortage.
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