Goldstein, David A.
Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics. 1992 Fall; 1(4): 345-348.
Organ harvesting from anencephalic children received a great deal of attention in 1987-88, both in the public media and in the academic press. At that time Loma Linda University was actively engaged in the recruitment of organs from anencephalic babies. The medical utility of such organs was assessed in a very analytical fashion by Shewmon et al. In a fairly conservative evaluation, the authors found that after all variables were considered, "the yearly number of children nationwide who would actually benefit from anencephalic kidneys, hearts and livers, were 0, 9, 2, respectively." This type of analysis contributed in large part to the cessation by Loma Linda University of their protocol using anencephalic children as organ donors. I will evaluate three thorny questions that remain. Should society, with its voice being the courts, intervene at all in such decisions or should these dilemmas be left solely to parents and physicians? Would reclassification of anencephalics as nonpersons obviate this dilemma entirely? If the present climate of not allowing such organ harvesting persists, what "good" might be salvaged for the parents?
Altruism; Anencephaly; Brain; Brain Death; Brain Pathology; Children; Common Good; Consent; Death; Decision Making; Donors; Evaluation; Hearts; Kidneys; Livers; Moral Policy; Motivation; Newborns; Organ Donation; Organ Donors; Parental Consent; Parents; Personhood; Physicians; Speciesism; Tissue Donation;
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