Elective ventilation for organ donation: law, policy and public ethics

Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (3):130-134 (2013)
This paper examines questions concerning elective ventilation, contextualised within English law and policy. It presents the general debate with reference both to the Exeter Protocol on elective ventilation, and the considerable developments in legal principle since the time that that protocol was declared to be unlawful. I distinguish different aspects of what might be labelled elective ventilation policies under the following four headings: ‘basic elective ventilation’; ‘epistemically complex elective ventilation’; ‘practically complex elective ventilation’; and ‘epistemically and practically complex elective ventilation’. I give a legal analysis of each. In concluding remarks on their potential practical viability, I emphasise the importance not just of ascertaining the legal and ethical acceptability of these and other forms of elective ventilation, but also of assessing their professional and political acceptability. This importance relates both to the successful implementation of the individual practices, and to guarding against possible harmful effects in the wider efforts to increase the rates of posthumous organ donation
Keywords info:mesh/Great Britain  info:mesh/Uncertainty  info:mesh/Brain Death  info:mesh/Humans  info:mesh/Tissue Donors  info:mesh/Life Support Care  info:mesh/Organ Transplantation  info:mesh/Intensive Care Units  Humans   Brain Death   Tissue and Organ Harvesting   Medical Futility   Respiration, Artificial   Intensive Care   Patient Admission   Life Support Care   Organ Transplantation   Uncertainty   Third-Party Consent   Tissue Donors   Intensive Care Units   Tissue and Organ Procurement   Great Britain  info:mesh/Respiration, Artificial  info:mesh/Tissue and Organ Procurement  info:mesh/Third-Party Consent  info:mesh/Tissue and Organ Harvesting  info:mesh/Medical Futility  info:mesh/Patient Admission  info:mesh/Intensive Care
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DOI 10.1136/medethics-2012-100992
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