Organ Retention and Return: Problems of Consent
Journal of Medical Ethics 2003 February; 29(1): 30-33
This paper explores difficulties around consent in the context of organ retention and return. It addresses the proposals of the Independent Review Group in Scotland on the Retention of Organs at Post Mortem to speak of authorisation rather than consent. Practical problems about whose consent determines disputes in relation to organ retention are explored. If a young child dies and his mother refuses consent but his father agrees what should ensue? Should the expressed wishes of a deceased adult override the objections of surviving relatives? The paper suggests much broader understanding of the issues embedded in organ retention is needed to provide solutions which truly meet families' and society's needs.
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