The Use of Anencephalic Infants as Organ Sources: A Critique
Shewmon, D. Alan
Capron, Alexander M.
Peacock, Warwick J.
Schulman, Barbara L.
JAMA. 1989 Mar 24/31; 261(12): 1773-1781.
The recent abandonment of the only active U.S. protocol for harvesting organs from anencephalic donors by Loma Linda University Medical Center in California indicates the unresolved issues inherent in such an effort. An historical review of transplants using anencephalic donors is given. Issues discussed include the medical utility of such practice, the legal definition of anencephalics as nonpersons, provision of intensive care while awaiting brain death, and revision of the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act to include live anencephalics as acceptable donors and of the Uniform Determination of Death Act to define anencephalics as dead. Ethical objections and data suggesting that few such organs would actually benefit other children lead the authors to conclude that the ultimate harm to society would not be offset by the good of the surviving recipients of such organs and that anencephalic infants are not as attractive a source of newborn organs as some had hoped. (KIE abstract)
Anencephaly; Brain; Brain Death; Brain Pathology; Children; Death; Determination of Death; Donors; Evaluation; Harm; Hospitals; Infants; Killing; Legal Aspects; Life; Moral Policy; Newborns; Organ Donation; Organ Transplantation; Parents; Personhood; Prolongation of Life; Public Policy; Review; Social Impact; Standards; Statistics; Tissue Donation; Transplantation; Wedge Argument;
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