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17 June, 2024
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Ethical issues hang heavy on controversial organ retrieval method in donors

Debate over ethical boundaries intensifies as NYU Langone champions unconventional organ donation technique


A heated controversy has erupted among major hospitals in New York City over a groundbreaking heart retrieval method for organ donors, exposing ethical concerns surrounding the delicate balance between life and death in medical practice. NYU Langone Health proudly claims to be the first in the U.S. to implement this technique in 2020, emphasizing its potential to significantly expand the pool of hearts available for transplantation. However, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, boasting the city's largest organ transplant program, has vehemently rejected the method following a thorough ethics committee review.

The innovative procedure involves restarting blood flow to the heart after declaring a comatose donor dead, challenging the conventional approach of procuring hearts from brain-dead individuals on life support. Critics argue that this unconventional method not only challenges the established definition of death but introduces a controversial step: using metal clamps to restrict blood flow from the revived heart to the donor's head, raising legal questions about the donor's status.

Despite opposition from medical groups like the American College of Physicians, NYU Langone Health and Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville have embraced the technique, reporting successful recoveries of nearly 30 hearts that would have otherwise gone unused. The proponents argue that this method has the potential to save lives by addressing the persistent shortage of transplantable organs.

This ethical debate echoes historical discussions on defining death, marking the transition from dying to dead, and the permissible actions of physicians during those crucial moments. Some experts express concerns about potential legal consequences for physicians adopting this new and controversial organ retrieval method.

As the national transplant waiting list surpasses 103,000 people, the ongoing debate over this groundbreaking heart retrieval method underscores the persistent challenges in the field of organ transplantation.

*[Source: The New York Times]*

Cyprus  |  health  |  transplants  |  organs  |  donor

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