Is it time to redefine death (for the good of organ recipients) ?
Is it time to redefine death? In a recent article in the NEJM, a team of doctors described decreasing the period after cessation of heart function in order to collect donations and increase their viability. This has spiked some debate over the definition of brain death and the "irreversibility" of asystole after removing life support. An introduction to the situation and the arguments. An interesting round table discussion, chaired by Atul Gawande. "The ethically relevant precondition is valid consent...with such consent, there is no harm or wrong done in retrieving vital organs before death, provided that anesthesia is administered." "This means that under current law, it is not possible to procure a transplantable heart after cardiac death. There are two possible ways out of this dilemma. Both involve legal changes." "To what extent should society permit manipulation of an organ donor or alteration of the determination of human death for the good of organ recipients?"