Anencephalic Newborns: Can Organs Be Transplanted Before Brain Death?
Truog, Robert D.
Fletcher, John C.
New England Journal of Medicine. 1989 Aug 10; 321(6): 388-391.
One proposal for increasing the number of organs available for transplantation into infants has been to procure organs from newborns with anencephaly. This idea has failed to alleviate the infant organ shortage in the United States because few anencephalics meet the criteria for total brain death before their organs deteriorate. Truog and Fletcher have developed a proposal that assumes that anencephalic infants are uniquely different from other handicapped newborns, and thus can be used as organ donors without meeting brain death criteria. Their proposal is based on an analysis of the President's Commission's Uniform Determination of Death Act (UDDA), and what the authors interpret as the Commission's conclusion that temporal integrity is a fundamental characteristic of living organisms. They argue that infants with anencephaly satisfy the general physiologic standards of the UDDA, if not its operative criteria, and are dead because they lack temporal functional integrity. (KIE abstract)
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