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Legal Briefing: Organ Donation and Allocation

Posted Oct 02 2010 5:52pm
The Fall 2010 issue of the Journal of Clinical Ethics (vol. 21 no. 3) is out.  My 21-page “Legal Briefing” column in this issue covers legal developments pertaining to organ donation and allocation. 

This topic has been the subject of recent articles in JCE. Organ donation and allocation have also recently been the subjects of significant public policy attention. In the past several months, legislatures and regulatory agencies across the United States and across the world have changed, or considered changing, the methods for procuring and distributing human organs for transplantation. Currently, in the U.S., more than 100,000 persons are waiting for organ transplantation. In China, more than 1.5 million people are waiting. Given the chronic shortage of available organs (especially kidneys and livers) relative to demand, the primary focus of most legal developments has been on increasing the rate of donation. These and related developments are usefully divided into the following 12 topical categories:

  1. Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act
  2. Presumed Consent and Opt-Out
  3. Mandated Choice
  4. Donation after Cardiac Death
  5. Payment and Compensation
  6. Donation by Prisoners
  7. Donor Registries
  8. Public Education
  9. Other Procurement Initiatives
  10.  Lawsuits and Liability
  11. Trafficking and Tourism
  12. Allocation and Distribution
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