How Should Physicians Manage Organ Donation after the Circulatory Determination of Death in Patients with Extremely Poor Neurological Prognosis?
AMA Journal of Ethics, August 2018
Organ donation after the circulatory determination of death (DCDD) accounts for a growing percentage of deceased organ donations. Although hospital DCDD protocols stipulate donor death determination, some do not adhere to national guidelines that require mechanical, not electrical, asystole. Surrogate decisions to withdraw life-sustaining therapy should be separated from decisions to donate organs. Donor families should be given sufficient information about the DCDD protocol and its impact on the dying process to provide informed consent, and donors should be given proper palliative care during dying. An unresolved ethical question is whether and how donor consent should be seen as authorizing manipulation of a living donor during the dying process solely for to benefit of the organ recipient.
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