July 8, 2012

The Case for Kidney Donation Before End-of-Life Care

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This article, and the 6 open peer commentaries that accompany it, discusses whether ante mortem donation of kidneys is ethically feasible in those patients in whom a decision has been made to discontinue life sustaining therapy. The authors argue that this strategy is ethically equivalent to donation after cardiac death, since the ante mortem removal of kidneys will not be the patient’s proximate cause of death. As well, the strategy will benefit recipients, as it will improve the quality of donated organs by decreasing warm ischemia time. Critics argue that this strategy may not comply with the dead donor rule, may compromise public trust in organ donation, that there is a possibility that patient will not die soon after withdrawal of care, and a possibility that renal failure could contribute to death

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