The dead donor rule and the concept of death: Severing the ties that bind them

American Journal of Bioethics 3 (1):1 – 9 (2003)
Abstract
One goal of the transplant community is to seek ways to increase the number of people who are willing and able to donate organs. People in states between life and death are often medically excellent candidates for donating organs. Yet public policy surrounding organ procurement is a delicate matter. While there is the utilitarian goal of increasing organ supply, there is also the deontologic concern about respect for persons. Public policy must properly mediate between these two concerns. Currently the dead donor (dd) rule is appealed to as an attempt at such mediation. I argue that given the lack of consensus on a definition of death, the dd rule is no longer successful at mediating utilitarian and deontologic concerns. I suggest instead that focusing on a particular person's history can be successful.
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