Caring for Organs or for Patients? Ethical Concerns About the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act (2006)
DeVita, Michael A.
Caplan, Arthur L.
Annals of Internal Medicine 2007 December 18; 147(12): 876-879
In 2006, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws rewrote the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act. To overcome the problem of family members prohibiting organ donation from their deceased loved ones even when a donor card existed, the commissioners modified the act to prevent end-of-life care from precluding organ donation. An unintended consequence of the new wording creates the potential for end-of-life care that prioritizes care of the potential donor organs over care and comfort of the dying person. The commissioners have now revised the act, but the original version has already been legislated in many states, with others poised to follow. To protect dying patients' wishes about their end-of-life care, states that have legislated or are considering the original act must replace it with the revised version. A long-term and important ethical precept must stand: Care of dying patients takes precedence over organs. Another laudable goal must be promoted as well: Organ donation is an important part of end-of-life care.
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