Najat Tajaâte, Nathalie van Dijk, Elien Pragt, David Shaw,A. Kempener‑Deguelle, Wim de Jongh, Jan Bollen,Walther van Mook
Background: A patient who fulfils the due diligence requirements for euthanasia, and is medically suitable, is able to donate his organs after euthanasia in Belgium, the Netherlands and Canada. Since 2012, more than 70 patients have undergone this combined procedure in the Netherlands. Even though all patients who undergo euthanasia are suf‑ fering hopelessly and unbearably, some of these patients are nevertheless willing to help others in need of an organ.
Organ donation after euthanasia is a so‑called donation after circulatory death (DCD), Maastricht category III procedure, which takes place following cardiac arrest, comparable to donation after withdrawal of life sustaining therapy in critically ill patients. To minimize the period of organ ischemia, the patient is transported to the operating room immediately after the legally mandated no‑touch period of 5 min following circulatory arrest. This means that the organ donation procedure following euthanasia must take place in the hospital, which appears to be insurmountable to many patients who are willing to donate, since they already spent a lot of time in the hospital.
Case presentation: This article describes the procedure of organ donation after euthanasia starting at home (ODAEH) following anesthesia in a former health care professional suffering from multiple system atrophy. This case is unique for at least two reasons. He spent his last conscious hours surrounded by his family at home, after which he underwent general anaesthesia and was intubated, before being transported to the hospital for euthanasia and organ donation. In addition, the patient explicitly requested the euthanasia to be performed in the preparation room, next to the operating room, in order to limit the period of organ ischemia due to transport time from the intensive care unit to the operating room. The medical, legal and ethical considerations related to this illustrative case are subsequently discussed.
Conclusions: Organ donation after euthanasia is a pure act of altruism. This combined procedure can also be performed after the patient has been anesthetized at home and during transportation to the hospital.
Ian M. Ball, Andrew Healey, Sean Keenan, Fran Priestap, John Basmaji, ,Kimia Honarmand, ,Jeanna Parsons Leigh, ,Sam Shemie, ,Prosanto Chaudhury,,Jeffrey M Singh, Jeffrey Zaltzman,Stephen Beed, Matthew Weiss
Extract The provision of organ donation after medically assisted euthanasia involves unusual challenges, including first-person direct consent, navigation of a new legislative landscape, and incorporation of the legislated requirements of euthanasia into the donation process. Ethical issues involving the well-being of health care workers and conscientious objection have also been raised.
Medical assistance in dying followed by organ donation is new to North America. It is evolving, and if offered to potential donors it provides them with the opportunity to fulfill their dying wishes. Secondarily, this process may make more organs available to patients on transplant waiting lists. There is substantial room for enhanced education of both the public and health care workers and for the evolution of clinical practice. National level, prospective data will be necessary to assess this evolving area of care.
Résumé Depuis décembre 2015, l’aide médicale à mourir, une pratique au centre de nombreux débats éthiques, est légalisée dans la province du Québec, au Canada. Ce nouveau type de décès a créé un tout nouveau contexte pour le don d’organes, soit le don d’organes après l’aide médicale à mourir. Le prélèvement des organes s’effectue alors suivant le protocole habituel du don d’organes après décès cardiocirculatoire contrôlé (catégorie Maastricht III), un protocole qui suscitait déjà de nombreux questionnements médico-éthiques. En outre, l’amalgame des deux pratiques soulève de nouveaux enjeux éthiques qui peuvent se traduire par des objections de conscience chez les médecins directement impliqués dans l’aide médicale à mourir et/ou le don d’organes. Or, une telle objection de conscience peut-elle être acceptable ? Nous tenterons de répondre à cette question en trois temps : d’abord, par un bref historique de l’objection de conscience ; ensuite, par une revue des débats actuels sur ce sujet ; enfin, par l’examen, à l’aide de critères recensés dans la littérature, de cas où les médecins refuseraient de participer au don d’organes après l’aide médicale à mourir.
Medical assistance in dying, a much debated practice in ethical literature, is practiced since 2015 in the province of Québec, Canada. Its practice has opened the door to organ donation after medical assistance in dying. This type of donation is possible through donation after controlled cardiocirculatory death (Maastricht III category), a procedure that also raises many ethical questions. Combining these two practices raises new ethical issues and could therefore generate conscientious objections from physicians directly involved in medical assistance in dying and/or organ donation. Would conscientious objection be acceptable in this context? To answer this question, we present a brief history of conscientious objection, an overview of the actual debates on conscientious objection and we will examine the case of the physician who would object to participate in organ donation after medical assistance in dying using existing criteria.
Nicholas Gilbo, Ina Jochmans, Daniel Jacobs-Tulleneers-Thevissen, Albert Wolthuis, Mauricio Sainz-Barriga, Jacques Pirenne, Diethard Monbaliu
Extract Transplantation of organs donated after euthanasia may help alleviate the critical organ shortage.1 However, aside from preliminary data on lung transplantation,2 data on graft and patient survival following transplantation of organs donated after euthanasia are unavailable. Because donation after euthanasia entails a period of detrimental warm ischemia that hampers graft survival, similar to donation after circulatory death,3 results after transplantation of this type of graft need to be carefully evaluated.
James Downar, Sam D. Shemie, Clay Gillrie, Marie-Chantal Fortin, Amber Appleby, Daniel Z. Buchman, Christen Shoesmith, Aviva Goldberg, Vanessa Gruben, Jehan Lalani, Dirk Ysebaert, Lindsay Wilson and Michael D. Sharpe
Extract Key Points
First-person consent for organ donation after medical assistance in dying (MAiD) or withdrawal of life-sustaining measures (WLSM) should be an option in jurisdictions that allow MAiD or WLSM and donation after circulatory determination of death.
The most important ethical concern — that the decision for MAiD or WLSM is being driven by a desire to donate organs — should be managed by ensuring that any discussion about organ donation takes place only after the decision for MAiD or WLSM is made.
If indications for MAiD change, this guidance for policies and the practice of organ donation after MAiD should be reviewed to ensure that the changes have not created new ethical or practical concerns. . .
Abstract This article describes and evaluates the Belgian euthanasia experience by considering its practice and policy, both before and after the formal decriminalisation of euthanasia in 2002. The pre-legal practice of euthanasia, the evolution of euthanasia legislation, criticism of this legislation, the influence of politics, and later changes to the 2002 Act on Euthanasia are discussed, as well as the subject of euthanasia of minors and the matter of organ procurement. It is argued that the Belgian euthanasia experience is characterised by political expedition, and that the 2002 Act and its later amendments suffer from practical and conceptual flaws. Illegal euthanasia practices remain a live concern in Belgium, something which nations who are seeking to decriminalise euthanasia should consider.
Jan Bollen,Rankie Ten Hoopen, Dirk Ysebaert, Walther van Mook, Ernst van Heurn
Abstract Organ donation after euthanasia has been performed more than 40 times in Belgium and the Netherlands together. Preliminary results of procedures that have been performed until now demonstrate that this leads to good medical results in the recipient of the organs. Several legal aspects could be changed to further facilitate the combination of organ donation and euthanasia. On the ethical side, several controversies remain, giving rise to an ongoing, but necessary and useful debate. Further experiences will clarify whether both procedures should be strictly separated and whether the dead donor rule should be strictly applied. Opinions still differ on whether the patient’s physician should address the possibility of organ donation after euthanasia, which laws should be adapted and which preparatory acts should be performed. These and other procedural issues potentially conflict with the patient’s request for organ donation or the circumstances in which euthanasia (without subsequent organ donation) traditionally occurs.
Abstract The duty of care is a fundamental principle of medicine that should be at the heart of the debate surrounding Planned Parenthood and fetal tissue research. And that duty includes taking advantage of avenues of hope for current and future patients.
Extract In September 2014, a little boy named Vincent was born prematurely, but healthy. While such a birth would usually attract the attention of family and friends, baby Vincent’s arrival made world news. He is the world’s first “womb transplant baby.” Like Louise Brown, Vincent is marked for history. Weeks after Vincent’s birth, two more women gave birth to boys, this time each mother carrying her child in the same womb in which she herself was gestated. . .
. . . This essay explores some of the research and issues raised by uterus transplantation. As is appropriate for an emerging biomedical technology, we approach these new developments with caution. My conclusions are preliminary. While I address some of the arguments pro and con, I will merely suggest some of the theological and biblical themes. These merit a lengthier treatment and charitable dialogue with others.
Abstract Property-based models of the ownership of body parts are common. They are inadequate. They fail to deal satisfactorily with many important problems, and even when they do work, they rely on ideas that have to be derived from deeper, usually unacknowledged principles. This article proposes that the parent principle is always human dignity, and that one will get more satisfactory answers if one interrogates the older, wiser parent instead of the younger, callow offspring. But human dignity has a credibility problem. It is often seen as hopelessly amorphous or incurably theological. These accusations are often just. But a more thorough exegesis exculpates dignity and gives it its proper place at the fountainhead of bioethics. Dignity is objective human thriving. Thriving considerations can and should be applied to dead people as well as live ones. To use dignity properly, the unit of bioethical analysis needs to be the whole transaction rather than (for instance) the doctor-patient relationship. The dignity interests of all the stakeholders are assessed in a sort of utilitarianism. Its use in relation to body part ownership is demonstrated. Article 8(1) of the European Convention of Human Rights endorses and mandates this approach.