Some of the most controversial methods of obtaining organs have been endorsed by the British Medical Association in a report released this week. “Building on Progress: what next for organ donation policy in the UK?” laments “the fact that… people are still dying unnecessarily because of a lack of organs”.
Among the measures it proposes are:
- Elective ventilation: keeping patients alive solely so they can become organ donors,
- Retrieving hearts from newborn disabled babies,
- Using body parts from high-risk donors including the elderly, people with cancer, drug users and people with high-risk sexual behaviour.
- making donation after cardiac death a normal source for organs
- a presumed consent system for organ donation.
- a shame campaign to draw attention to the “moral disparity” of people who decline to donate, but are happy to accept an organ.
- payment of funeral expenses for donors
All of these measures have been debated extensively over the past few years.