The Anencephalic Newborn as Organ Donor
Harrison, Michael R.
Hastings Center Report. 1986 Apr; 16(2): 21-23.
Harrison, director of a fetal transplant program, and Meilaender, a professor of religion, comment on whether parents may offer as an organ donor their prenatally diagnosed anencephalic newborn. Harrison notes that the presence of a partial brain stem in these infants precludes the use of "whole brain" death criteria. He proposes labeling anencephalics as "brain-absent," a category of persons born dying, from whom life support may be withdrawn and organs retrieved. He rejects the designation "a product of human conception incapable of achieving personhood," as potentially leading to the denial of care and respect to anencephalics, and to denial of personhood to other handicapped infants. Meilaender voices moral reservations about donation if it requires departure from the normal care given a dying anencephalic newborn. He rejects the principle of using the child as a means to another end. (KIE abstract)
Anencephaly; Beginning of Life; Brain; Brain Death; Case Studies; Consent; Death; Diagnosis; Fetuses; Human Characteristics; Infants; Life; Labeling; Moral Obligations; Newborns; Organ Donation; Parental Consent; Parents; Personhood; Prenatal Diagnosis; Prolongation of Life; Religion; Tissue Donation;
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Harrison, Michael R. (1986-12-13)A member of a medical center fetal treatment program and division of pediatric surgery discusses the technical feasibility and unique suitability of fetal tissue and organ transplants for treatment of diseases and ...