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 20 November 2017

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News

Varying practices blight organ procurement, JAMA survey shows

Organizations responsible for finding organs for transplants follow widely varying practices for getting consent, researchers report in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

News image

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Transplant co-ordinators prefer to get consent from a living person - even though the consent of the deceased should be the critical factor, according to the study of 61 organ procurement organizations in the USA.

The findings lend weight to campaigns to set up national computerized registers of individuals' views on donation, according to Dr Dave Wendler and Neal Dickert, of the Department of Clinical Bioethics of the US National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

31% of organizations follow the deceased's wishes, but 31% seek consent from next of kin.
JAMA

The survey showed that 31% of organizations sought to follow the wishes of the deceased - and the same proportion sought consent from the next of kin.

Another 21% went ahead with donation provided there were no objections - and 13% said they went ahead if there were no objections or, alternatively, if there was consent from one party.

The most recent research in the USA has found that organs are frequently not made available for transplantation when the circumstances are appropriate, the researchers said. Donation goes ahead only on about 40% of these occasions.

The researchers write, "These differences appear to be traceable to implicit ethical disagreements about whose wishes should be followed.

"The apparent preference of organizations for interacting with living individuals suggests that a computerized registry that lists a person to make donation decisions, along with the deceased's preferences, may be the best approach."

They add, "These data suggest that, rather than focus on new legislation or even new methods for indicating one's donation wishes, the next step should be a national debate regarding whose wishes should determine whether solid organs are procured from deceased individuals."

Report Copyright: Englemed Health News at http://www.internationalmedicalnews.com

JAMA 2001; 285: 329-333
17 January 2001

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