In the future patient's who had suffered cardiac death would have their bodies prepared for transplantation when they are still alive.
The Australian Health Ethics Committee that is working on organ donation is seeking to extend the transplant preparations to patients who are certain to die after experiencing cardiac death. This is because solid organs like the heart, liver lungs and kidneys begin to deteriorate immediately after the cessation of blood circulation. In the past, transplant preparations have only been carried out on brain-dead patients.
Peter Joseph, chair of the ethics committee said that it is important to extend the preparation procedures to living patients in order to meet the organ donation demands. There are two ways in which a doctor can certify death one being brain death and the other cardiac death. Brain death is when the patient has lost all brain function completely and permanently. In such cases the organs are preserved via a ventilator for the purpose of donation. These preparations have been made legitimate and present no ethical barrier in brain dead patients.
In case of cardiac death the heart stops beating and within a few minutes the organs deteriorate by themselves. Hence it is necessary to make certain treatments to extend the shelf life of the organs. Dr Joseph said that these preparations would not be done without the permission of the donor or the donor's family. Hence the committee wants legislation made uniform so the practice is made legal in all states and territories.