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Ethical Issues With Rapid Harvesting of Hearts

by Rajashri on August 16, 2008 at 4:38 PM
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 Ethical Issues With Rapid Harvesting of Hearts

A team of doctors in Denver are facing ethical questions after it was revealed that they had gone ahead and removed hearts of dying babies after their hearts had stopped beating for less that 75 seconds.

The standard waiting time recommended by the Institute of Medicine for organ harvesting after the heart stops beating is 5 minutes though exceptions can be made if the patient is brain dead. However doctors from Denver had waited just three minutes before harvesting the heart from one patient and less than 75 seconds in two patients between 2004 and 2007.

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While the doctors face ethical questions for disregarding the minimum waiting time as recommended by Institute of Medicine, one of the doctors, Dr Mark Boucek defended the team's action by saying that waiting for a long time may reduce the chances of a successful transplantation.

"Adding an additional two, three or five minutes, or even 75 seconds, does add some additional injury. It could be 10 percent," he said.

A detailed report is published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Source: Medindia
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