Alliance for Human Research Protection
March 18, 2007
By Vera Hassner Sharav
The Washington Post reports that "a new trend" in organic harvesting is underway within minutes of cardiac arrest. This government sanctioned program euphemistically called, "donation after cardiac death" (DCD) accelerates the organ "donation" process.
"Some doctors and bioethicists, however, say the practice raises the disturbing specter of transplant surgeons preying on dying patients for their organs, possibly pressuring doctors and families to discontinue treatment, adversely affecting donors' care in their final days and even hastening their deaths."
"The person is not dead yet," said Jerry A. Menikoff, an associate professor of law, ethics and medicine at the University of Kansas. "They are going to be dead, but we should be honest and say that we're starting to remove the organs a few minutes before they meet the legal definition of death."
In Denver, surgeons at Children's Hospital wait 75 seconds before starting to remove hearts from infants.
The number of these "donations" more than doubled from 268 in 2003 to at least 605 in 2006, enabling surgeons to transplant more than 1,200 additional kidneys, livers, lungs, hearts and other organs. "It's starting to go up exponentially," said James Burdick, who leads organ-donor efforts at the federal Department of Health and Human Services.