Pro/con ethics debate: should mechanical ventilation be continued to allow for progression to brain death so that organs can be donated?
Parker M., Shemie SD.
Organ transplants continue to redefine medical frontiers. Unfortunately, current demand for organs far surpasses availability, waiting lists are long and many people die before the organ they desperately need becomes available. One proposed way to increase organ availability is to admit patients to the ICU with severe neurological injuries, for a trial of therapy. If the injury is irretrievable, discussions would then focus on extending ventilation for potential brain death/organ donation if a prior wish to donate is known or if the substitute decision maker consents. The following debate discusses the ethical dilemmas of waiting for brain death.