Postmortem brain donation and organ transplantation in schizophrenia: what about patient consent?

Journal of Medical Ethics 38 (7):442-444 (2012)
In patients with schizophrenia, consent postmortem for organ donation for transplantation and research is usually obtained from relatives. By means of a questionnaire, the authors investigate whether patients with schizophrenia would agree to family members making such decisions for them as well as compare decisions regarding postmortem organ transplantation and brain donation between patients and significant family members. Study results indicate while most patients would not agree to transplantation or brain donation for research, a proportion would agree. Among patients who declined organ donation for transplantation or brain research, almost half of family members would have agreed to brain donation for research and over 40% to organ transplantation. Male relatives are more likely to agree to organ donation from their deceased relatives for both transplantation and research. The authors argue that it is important to respect autonomy and interests of research subjects even if mentally ill and even if no longer living. Consent may be assisted by appropriate educational interventions prior to patient death
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DOI 10.1136/medethics-2011-100217
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