More about Organ Donations after Death
proactively sign up for the donation of their organs after death
Most transplantable organs come from deceased donors who have been declared dead by neurologic criteria. Because many more deaths in the United States are determined by circulatory criteria than by neurologic criteria, there is great potential to expand the number of potential organ donations. The committee acknowledges that donation after circulatory determination of death (DCDD) can be a more complex and less facile process than donation after neurologic determination of death. However, expanding the nation’s capabilities, particularly in large urban areas with excellent emergency medical care, could provide the opportunity for donation to larger numbers of individuals and families. One set of conservative estimates suggests that at least 22,000 of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest deaths annually in the United States could be potential donors if important ethical and practical matters could be resolved. Before proceeding further, demonstration projects to assess the feasibility of undertaking such a strategy within a defined community should be considered.
consider donating their organs and tissues after death ..
In the United States, deceased organ donation occurs only with express consent (often in response to an inquiry or request). This consent may be given in advance by the individual while he or she is still alive, or it may be given by the next of kin after the death of the individual. The state laws that govern organ donation thus require opting in (or contracting in). The default option, in the absence of express consent, is nondonation. Proposals to increase the availability of transplantable organs often recommend a policy of presumed consent or opting out. Under such a policy, organs from deceased individuals could be removed for transplantation unless the decedents—or their families, after their deaths—had followed the prescribed
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Respect for persons: Policies and practices designed to increase the rates of organ donation and the recovery of organs from deceased individuals must be compatible with four limiting conditions deeply rooted in the cultural, religious, and legal traditions of the United States: (1) respect for the moral worth and dignity of each human being; (2) respect for each individual’s right to govern the disposition of his or her body after death, including the voluntary choice of whether or not to donate organs; (3) respect for the remains of human beings, as represented in particular cultural and religious practices; and (4) respect for the wishes and feelings of families of deceased individuals.