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Diagnosis and Treatment |

Responsibilities of Primary Physicians in Organ Donation

SUSAN W. TOLLE, M.D.; WILLIAM M. BENNETT, M.D.; DAVID H. HICKAM, M.D., M.P.H.; and JOHN A. BENSON Jr., M.D.
[+] Article and Author Information

Grant support: in part by Department of Health and Human Services grant 1 D28 TE 10057-01 and by a grant from the Kinsman Foundation.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Susan W. Tolle, M.D.; OHSU-L 475, 3181 S.W. Sam Jackson Park Rd.; Portland, OR 97201.


Portland, Oregon


©1987 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1987;106(5):740-744. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-106-5-740
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As transplantation success rates have improved, the demand for donor organs has steadily increased. A shortage of donor organs has led to legislation requiring hospital personnel to provide families routinely with the opportunity to authorize organ donation. Primary physicians have an important role in identifying potential donors while continuing to assure that the survivors' needs are met. The major implications of organ donation for the primary physician are reviewed. Patients who die will more frequently be eligible as corneal, skin, or bone donors, but the criteria for both tissue and internal organ donation are reviewed. Ethical issues unique to organ donation and responses of survivors to donation requests are described. If appropriately offered, the opportunity to authorize an anatomic gift can be a source of comfort to survivors while the donation provides the benefits of transplantation to persons on organ waiting lists.

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