Organ harvesting from people who may not be brain-dead has doubled in three years. Transplant programs aren't getting enough organs from people whose brains die before their hearts, so they're seeking more organs from people whose hearts die before their brains, even when cardiac death is induced by withdrawal of life support. This includes cases in which "neurological criteria for death cannot be met." Some doctors start removing organs only 75 seconds after the heart stops. Objections: 1) "The person is not dead yet." 2) Pressure to get organs will cause families to withdraw life support more quickly. 3) Next, we may seek organs from incapacitated people. Rebuttals: 1) We need the organs to save more lives. 2) We're helping more donors fulfill their wishes. 3) Ethicists review all decisions. 4) The donors "meet the legal definition of death because there is no intention of reviving them." (For recent updates on getting organs from prisoners in South Carolina and patients in California, click here and here. For Human Nature's take on using embryos to grow organs for harvesting, click here.)
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