Organ donation after cardiac death: legal and ethical justifications for antemortem interventions

Judith R Kennedy
Med J Aust 2008; 188 (3): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2008.tb01573.x
Published online: 4 February 2008

To the Editor: In their recent article,1 Richards and Rogers connect some ideas about patient autonomy, non-maleficence and laws relating to consent with specific antemortem activities, but their main “justification” for these activities is a practice termed donation after cardiac death (DCD). This practice has been introduced in the hope of increasing the availability of organs for transplant. It involves removing cardiorespiratory support and withholding resuscitation, then harvesting organs when cardiac death occurs.2,3

  • Judith R Kennedy

  • School of History and Philosophy, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW.



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