Donation after Circulatory Determination of Death
The growing shortage of organs for transplantation has encouraged increasing procurement of organs from donors who are not "brain dead," following planned withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment. Within a short duration after their hearts have stopped beating, the donors are declared dead and organs are procured. We argue that these donors are not known to be dead within 5 minutes or less after their hearts have stopped beating, because efforts at resuscitation might be successful. Death is defined as an irreversible condition, and there can be no assurance of irreversibility within such a short interval after circulatory function has ceased. The intention not to initiate resuscitation does not make the cessation of circulatory function irreversible. Efforts to explain this practice as consistent with a valid determination of death are unconvincing
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