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Med Health Care Philos. 2013 Feb;16(1):45-54. doi: 10.1007/s11019-012-9430-8.

The ethics of living donation for liver transplant: beyond donor autonomy.

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Public Health, Centre for Clinical Ethics, Cochin Hospital, 27, rue Fbg. St-Jacques, 75014 Paris, France.


This paper will present and discuss our conclusions about the ethics of living donation for liver transplant (LDLT) after 8 year of collaboration between our clinical ethics consultation service and liver transplant teams, in the course of which we met with all donor-candidates. We will focus on the results of a follow-up study that was conducted in order to evaluate the long-term consequences for potential donors and to interview them on the ethical aspects of the screening process. This study was conducted from April 2007 to November 2009 and consisted of interviews with donor-candidates, regardless of whether they underwent harvest surgery, at least 1 year after the recipient's transplant. We explored their views about their own and the recipients' physical and psychological condition, changes in family and career dynamics, their experience as potential or real donors, and their views about LDLT process in general. Results shed new light on the ethical grounds of LDLT and allow us to envisage new ways of improving the ethical soundness of current procedures and practices. In particular, we argue that the purpose of an ethics committee should be to provide follow-up support for the donors rather than merely to check the freedom of donors' consent. We also suggest that the recipient's consent deserves more attention than it currently receives.

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