The Ethics of Organ Transplants: The Current Debate

By Arthur L. Caplan; Daniel H. Coelho | Go to book overview

9. Should Organs from Patients
in Permanent Vegetative State
Be Used for Transplantation?

R. Hoffenberg, M. Lock, N. Tilney,
C. Casabona, A. S. Daar, R. D. Guttmann,
I. Kennedy, S. Nundy, J. Radcliffe-Richards,
and
R. A. Sells

A shortage of donor organs limits most transplant programs: some patients die of otherwise untreatable end-organ failure, others, in chronic renal failure, are obliged to continue with costly and distressing dialysis procedures. We discuss whether organs taken from patients in a permanent vegetative state (PVS) could be used for transplantation once a decision has been taken to withdraw treatment and allow the patient to die. In the USA, there are an estimated 10,000-25,000 adult patients and 4,000-10,000 children in PVS; 1 figures for the UK are likely to be substantially less pro rata, perhaps 1,000 in all. The UK figure applies to all those who have been vegetative for longer than three months, many of whom die within the first year, so no decision would be taken to withdraw treatment in their lifetimes and they would not be regarded as potential organ donors. As yet, few court decisions have given consent to withdraw treatment from such long-standing cases, but the numbers may increase as the process becomes more widely accepted. There would be obvious benefits if this potential source of organs were to be made available for transplantation, but some arguments have been adduced against this proposition.

First, there is continuing uncertainty and controversy about the definition and diagnosis of PVS, higher brain death, and the recognition of residual consciousness. Errors in diagnosis could result in faulty prognosis. 2,3 Therefore, no decisions should be taken to end the life of patients thought to be in PVS. However, Andrews and colleagues2 affirm that an accurate diagnosis of PVS can be made if the patient is assessed over a period of time by an experienced team, and that the fear of misdiagnosis should not constitute an argu

____________________
Originally published in The Lancet 1997; 350:1320-21. Reprinted by permission.

-116-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Ethics of Organ Transplants: The Current Debate
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 350

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.