Michael A. DeVita, MD; Arthur L. Caplan, PhD
Acknowledgment: The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of NCCUSL and in particular Robert Sade, MD, with preparation of this document for publication.
Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.
Requests for Single Reprints: Michael A. DeVita, MD, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian Hospital, Room C-111, 200 Lothrop Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.
Current Author Addresses: Dr. DeVita: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian Hospital, Room C-111, 200 Lothrop Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.
Dr. Caplan: Department of Medical Ethics, Center for Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania, 3401 Market Street, Suite 320, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3308.
In 2006, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws rewrote the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act. To overcome the problem of family members prohibiting organ donation from their deceased loved ones even when a donor card existed, the commissioners modified the act to prevent end-of-life care from precluding organ donation. An unintended consequence of the new wording creates the potential for end-of-life care that prioritizes care of the potential donor organs over care and comfort of the dying person. The commissioners have now revised the act, but the original version has already been legislated in many states, with others poised to follow. To protect dying patients' wishes about their end-of-life care, states that have legislated or are considering the original act must replace it with the revised version. A long-term and important ethical precept must stand: Care of dying patients takes precedence over organs. Another laudable goal must be promoted as well: Organ donation is an important part of end-of-life care.
DeVita MA, Caplan AL. Caring for Organs or for Patients? Ethical Concerns about the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act (2006). Ann Intern Med. ;147:876–879. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-147-12-200712180-00008
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2007;147(12):876-879.
End-of-Life Care, Ethics, Pulmonary/Critical Care.
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