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Ethics and the Acquisition of Organs$
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T. M. Wilkinson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199607860

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199607860.001.0001

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The Dead and Their Families

The Dead and Their Families

(p.63) 5 The Dead and Their Families
Ethics and the Acquisition of Organs

T. M. Wilkinson

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the power of families to override the consent of the deceased to donate and to permit retrieval from the deceased who had not consented. The chapter assesses three main arguments for family decision‐making authority: that it is the best way to provide what the deceased had wanted; that the family have a claim in its own right; and that overriding the family would cause a fall in the supply of organs. This chapter argues that we often do not know whether asking families would best provide what the deceased had wanted; that the family does have a claim in its own right, but only not to be distressed, a consideration of limited scope and weight; and that the family probably should have a power of veto given the likely effect on the supply of organs.

Keywords:   families, family veto, distress, deceased, consent, organ supply

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