The controversial topic of organ donation after euthanasia is addressed in a manual, providing guidance to clinicians whose patients have requested euthanasia and the desire to offer their organs to others in need. The manual is published in the American Journal of Transplantation.
Around the globe, euthanasia or assisted suicide is increasingly being considered a legal right for patients with certain devastating medical conditions. In some situations, patients who wish to pursue euthanasia may also request that their organs be donated after their death. With this in mind, Jan Bollen, LLM, MD, PhD student, of the Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands, and his colleagues developed a manual for situations in which euthanasia can be combined with organ donation.
"Euthanasia itself remains an ethical subject surrounded by controversy, but the members of our working group attempted to be nonjudgmental regarding this issue," said Bollen. "Since organ donation after euthanasia is legally possible in the Netherlands, we were however convinced it was wise to create a practical manual.
"If a patient would ask his treating physician to undergo euthanasia and donate organs, our practical manual contributes to the knowledge of this physician that organ donation after euthanasia is a real option, and that he or she knows what steps to follow," said Bollen.