Proposed Changes In Organ Donation Stir Debate
June 24, 2013
The board of directors of the United Network for Organ Sharing will open a two-day meeting at the organization’s headquarters in Richmond, Va., to consider new guidelines for donation after cardiac death.
Donation after cardiac death involves removing organs minutes after life-support has been stopped for patients who still have at least some brain activity.
“From the beginning the organ transplantation establishment has recognized that you must keep them separate,” Youngner says. “You must keep the people who are taking care of and making decisions about the potential donor separate from those who are trying to get an organ to put it into the recipient.”
But the UNOS committee proposing the new guidelines says exactly how to handle that process is best decided on a case-by-case basis because local values vary, as do the circumstances of individual cases.
In addition, when it comes to donations after cardiac death, decisions have to be made quickly. “The organs have a very short time period — measured in minutes — after the pronouncement of death for those organs to be removed to where they can still be transplanted,” Hughes says.
“The problem is that it could well be that your child will, you know, regain some consciousness,” he says. “There’s just no telling at that point.”
For his part, Hughes says the proposal includes other changes aimed at protecting potential donors. Organ bank workers, for example, would be prohibited from getting directly involved in giving patients drugs to preserve their organs.
exploitation of a possible donor