- Open Access
Truthfulness in transplantation: non-heart-beating organ donation
© Potts; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2007
- Received: 27 July 2007
- Accepted: 24 August 2007
- Published: 24 August 2007
The current practice of organ transplantation has been criticized on several fronts. The philosophical and scientific foundations for brain death criteria have been crumbling. In addition, donation after cardiac death, or non-heartbeating-organ donation (NHBD) has been attacked on grounds that it mistreats the dying patient and uses that patient only as a means to an end for someone else's benefit.
Verheijde, Rady, and McGregor attack the deception involved in NHBD, arguing that the donors are not dead and that potential donors and their families should be told that is the case. Thus, they propose abandoning the dead donor rule and allowing NHBD with strict rules concerning adequate informed consent. Such honesty about NHBD should be welcomed.
However, NHBD violates a fundamental end of medicine, nonmaleficience, "do no harm." Physicians should not be harming or killing patients, even if it is for the benefit of others. Thus, although Verheijde and his colleages should be congratulated for calling for truthfulness about NHBD, they do not go far enough and call for an elimination of such an unethical procedure from the practice of medicine.
- Organ Donation
- Transplant Community
- Utilitarian Reason
- Dead Donor Rule
- Brain Death Criterion
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