With the development of new surgical techniques and immunosuppressive drugs, the demand for organs and donors has outpaced the supply, despite widespread legal recognition of brain death. According to a 1982 estimate, 'out of some 20,000 potential donors - young or middle-aged patients classified as brain dead - only 2500 actually gave their organs.' Although many explanations have been offered for this phenomenon, little attention has been given to the disturbing effects of organ-retrieval surgery on staff members in the intensive care unit and operating room - the health professionals who are most involved. Underlying the disturbance felt by staff members are concerns that organ donors are not dead, despite a declaration of brain death, and that the organ-recovery process itself is somehow disrespectful and may indeed kill the donor. By ignoring these concerns, we may unwittingly magnify societal resistance to wider participation in organ donation.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||New England Journal of Medicine|
|State||Published - 1985|
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