Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ethicist seeks law to say when dead is truly dead (Canada)

Ethicist seeks law to say when dead is truly dead (Canada)"A new trend to harvest transplant organs from people whose hearts have just stopped - but may not be yet brain dead - has underlined the "pressing need" for federal legislation to define exactly when someone has perished, a leading medical ethicist argues. Canada has an assortment of case law and legislation defining end of life, but the growing use of organs from cardiac-death patients may violate the law, argues Jocelyn Downie of Dalhousie University in a recent journal paper. Health-care workers motivated simply by the desire to help seriously ill patients are at risk of civil or even criminal court action because of the lack of a clear definition, she says in the Canadian Journal of Anesthesia. The cardiac-death protocol, meanwhile, should probably be halted until more is known about when someone whose heart has stopped is beyond recovery, Prof. Downie said" - leader-Post

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