Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Questions about Cardiac Death and Organ Donation

Rosemary Flanigan
June 16, 2010

The May/June issue of the Hastings Center Report—and Don Marquis’ article, “Are DCD Donors Dead?" Don is a long-time friend of the Center and we have had many exchanges over the years.

Donation after cardiac death is the issue: removing organs as soon as possible is desirable, yet the donor must be dead. He knows that DCD protocols are widely accepted indicating that they are persuasive—but are they sound?

In a carefully worded argument involving irreversibility and permanence, Don argues that if a heart can be re-started, then how can the donor have been “dead”?

Maybe it is easier for me to see the donor as dead because of all those years I taught the philosophy of the human person. We are a coordinated whole; if a part of me can’t do its function because all the other parts can’t support it, then that part dies in me.

But it may be able to live in another functioning whole. What do you think?



Blogger Lisa D said...

I work in the donation field, so am perhaps strongly biased. The argument that "because the heart can be re-started, the patient isn't dead" ignores the clinical observation that even if the heart is restarted, the patient cannot sustain life. DCD is an option after a neuro insult that does not progress to brain death, but that doesn't mean the patient would get better even with aggressive treatment.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010  

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