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Med J Aust. 2007 Aug 6;187(3):168-70.

Organ donation after cardiac death: legal and ethical justifications for antemortem interventions.

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  • 1Law School, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia.


Organ donation after cardiac death increases organ availability, but raises several legal and ethical issues, including consent. Medical interventions for people who are unconscious usually require guardian consent and must meet patients' best-interests standards. Antemortem procedures can improve the success of organ transplant after cardiac death, but do not serve the patient's medical interests, and it is contentious whether consent for antemortem interventions is legal under current Australian guardianship legislation. We argue that consent decisions should take patients' wishes as well as their medical interests into account. Antemortem interventions are ethically and legally justified if the interventions are not harmful and the person concerned wished to be an organ donor.

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[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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