08 June 2012

Organ transplantation: cut alive?

Professor-transplantologist urges to withdraw organs from still living donors

"Health of Ukraine"

One of the leading transplant specialists in the USA believes that the current rules for determining the death of a potential organ donor prevent an increase in the number of transplant operations. He points out that, for example, kidneys can be extracted even before the donor's heart stops.

Professor Paul Morrissey, who is one of the largest specialists in the field of transplantation not only in the USA, but also in world medicine, published an article in the latest issue of the American Journal of Bioethics (The Case for Kidney Donation Before End-of-Life Care – BM), which caused a wide resonance among his colleagues.

Paul Morrissey believes that at least 30% of potential donors (meaning posthumous donors) fail to remove kidneys, liver, heart and other organs for the reason that they become unusable due to too long waiting for the patient's death. In this case, the professor criticizes the rule according to which death is considered to have occurred only after the donor's heart stops.

The doctor believes that in the case of irreversible changes in the brain, it would be possible to withdraw kidneys from potential donors (with the consent of relatives) even before the cessation of heart contractions and lung function, which in this case, as a rule, is supported by artificial ventilation.

Professor Morrissey suggests disconnecting such patients from the life support system and removing their kidneys using anesthesia. Further, after the patient has no heartbeat for 5 minutes, his death should be recorded. That is, the donor's life will still be maintained during the operation, and then he will be disconnected from all life support equipment.

"In this case, the cause of the donor's death should not be considered the removal of his kidneys, but the primary injury or disease that caused brain death, as well as the cessation of artificial lung ventilation," says the doctor, who believes that such a procedure will significantly increase the number of kidneys suitable for transplantation.

His idea immediately had both supporters and opponents. The latter believe that the introduction of such a rule will lead to a significant reduction in the number of Americans who express a desire to become posthumous organ donors during their lifetime – people will become afraid that in many cases unscrupulous or corrupt doctors will not save them, but will be sent to the operating room for the removal of organs of the "first freshness".

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru08.06.2012

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