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Requested allocation of a deceased donor organ: laws and misconceptions
  1. J F Douglas1,
  2. A J Cronin2
  1. 1School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Queen's University, Belfast, UK
  2. 2NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, Guy's and St. Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust and MRC Centre for Transplantation, King's College, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Antonia J Cronin, NIHR Biomedical Research Centre - Transplant Theme, MRC Centre for Transplantation, King's College London, 5th Floor Tower Wing, Guy's Hospital, Great Maze Pond, London SE1 9RT, UK; antonia.cronin{at}

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In the Laura Ashworth case in 2008, the Human Tissue Authority (HTA) considered itself bound to overturn a deceased daughter's alleged wish that one of her kidneys should go to her mother, who at the time had end stage kidney failure and was on dialysis.1 2 This was so even though Laura's earlier wish to be a living donor would most likely have been authorised, had the formal assessment process begun. The decision provoked much criticism.

The recent Department of Health document Requested Allocation of a Deceased Donor Organ, published 29 March 2010, developed by the UK health administrations together with the HTA and NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), which is the main organ allocation body in the UK, seeks to resolve this ethical dilemma by setting out the circumstances in which requests for such deceased donations may be acceptable.3 The most important conditions appear to be:

  1. the donation must be unconditional in nature;

  2. there must be …

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  • Funding AJC's PhD at the School of Law, University of Manchester, was funded by the Wellcome Trust.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.

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