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Death, Dying, and Organ TransplantationReconstructing Medical Ethics at the End of Life$
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Franklin G. Miller and Robert D. Truog

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199739172

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199739172.001.0001

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Vital Organ Donation without the Dead Donor Rule

Vital Organ Donation without the Dead Donor Rule

6 Vital Organ Donation without the Dead Donor Rule
Death, Dying, and Organ Transplantation

Franklin G. Miller

Robert D. Truog

Oxford University Press

The established ethical framework for donation of vital organs has relied on "the dead donor rule," which stipulates that vital organs can be procured for transplantation only from donors who are dead. However, the argument in Chapters 3 and 5 demonstrates that "brain dead" individuals remain alive and donors declared dead according to circulatory criteria are not known to be dead at the time that their organs are being procured. Can vital organ donation be acceptable without the dead donor rule? In Chapter 6 we develop an ethical justification of vital organ donation from still-living donors contingent on valid plans to withdraw life-sustaining treatment and consent. Under these circumstances, donors are not harmed or wronged by organ procurement prior to stopping treatment. We consider and reply to a series of objections to this justification of vital organ donation without appeal to the dead donor rule.

Keywords:   dead donor rule, exploitation, consent, nothing is lost, as good as dead

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