Elective Non-Therapeutic Intensive Care To Aid Organ Donation

… and now for something completely different. Two  recent articles in the Journal of Medical Ethics have presented a novel suggestion to aid in the preservation of organs for donation via elective non therapeutic ventilation (“EV”).

We are all aware of the use of ventilation when somebody is unable to sustain their own breathing within an intensive care setting, however EV differs significantly and is performed  when a person is either on their way toward irretrievable brain death (but still capable of breathing)  or as soon as possible after formal  declaration of death.

This is an ‘elective’ procedure because it requires the patients full consent before any decrease in cognitive capacity or death.

The many ethical conundrums raised by this procedure include:

  • ensuring full consent of the patient;
  • the risk of the patient surviving in an unacceptably bad state;
  • the possibility of changing our perception of organ donation and care in dying;
  •  the moral distress potentially caused to staff involved;
  • the dilemma between the duty to respect a dying patient’s autonomy and the duty not to harm  a patient; and
  • the possible harm caused to families/caregivers by undertaking the procedure. 

Check out the articles here and here.

**If you would like to see more articles here of a Medico-legal / Medical Ethics genre, let me know!

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2 Comments on “Elective Non-Therapeutic Intensive Care To Aid Organ Donation”

  1. You write very interesting thoughts regarding medical law. If you want to publish more blog posts and articles, you can do it on Attorney Online. For example, in a rubric of medical law articles http://attorney-online.info/publ/medical_law_articles/14 There is also a free attorney directory and every attorney can submit contacts there.

  2. […] Elective Non-therapeutic Ventilation to Assist in Organ Donation […]


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