British doctors endorse radical solutions to organ shortage

Michael Cook

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.

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