Assessments of the acceptability of new transplantation practices require a pinpointing of not only the meaning of death, but also the timing of death. They typically perceive elective ventilation as occurring just prior to death and non-heart-beating donor protocols as operative just after death. However, such practices in fact highlight the general vagueness and ambiguity surrounding these issues in both law and ethics. Supply-side dilemmas in transplantation lend real urgency to this "life or death" debate.
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