The Use of Anencephalic Neonates as Organ Donors
JAMA. 1995 May 24/31; 273(20): 1614-1618.
...In 1988, this Council examined the ethical issues surrounding the use of organs from anencephalic neonates and concluded that it is ethically acceptable to remove organs from anencephalic neonates only after they have died, whether the death occurs by cessation of cardiac function or brain function. In June 1994, after more than a year of deliberation, the Council revised its position and issued a new opinion. During its deliberations, the Council considered input from interested persons, including professionals and lay persons, and consulted the published literature on the use of organs from anencephalic neonates. The new opinion states that it is ethically acceptable to transplant the organs of anencephalic neonates even before the neonates die, as long as there is parental consent and certain other safeguards are followed. This opinion is consistent with the majority view among experts in medicine and ethics. In a survey of leading medical experts in anencephaly and leading experts in ethics, two thirds of those surveyed stated that they consider the use of organs from anencephalic infants "intrinsically moral," and more than half stated their support for a change in the law to permit such use. In this report, the Council presents its rationale for changing its position. The Council recognizes that, even with a change in its position, current law would have to be modified to permit parental donation of organs from an anencephalic neonate before the death of the neonate. In the past, the law has often changed to reflect evolution in ethical thought. Indeed, a report by a committee at Harvard Medical School spurred the modification of the definition of death to mean either the complete cessation of cardiac function or the complete cessation of brain function. The Council presents this report in the hope that it will generate a similar public consensus in favor of permitting parental donation of organs from anencephalic neonates before the neonate dies.
Anencephaly; Brain; Consensus; Consent; Death; Determination of Death; Diagnosis; Donors; Ethics; Evolution; Infants; Law; Legal Aspects; Life; Literature; Medicine; Newborns; Neonates; Organ Donation; Organ Donors; Organ Transplantation; Organizational Policies; Organizations; Parental Consent; Pediatrics; Physicians; Professional Organizations; Prognosis; Psychological Stress; Scarcity; Survey; Tissue Donation; Transplant Recipients; Transplantation; Wedge Argument;
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