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Current Controversy
Dignifying death and the morality of elective ventilation
  1. Pablo De Lora1,
  2. Alicia Pérez Blanco2
  1. 1Department of Public Law and Legal Philosophy, Law School, Madrid, Spain
  2. 2Department of Unidad de Cuidados Críticos, Hospital Universitario Fundación Alcorcón, Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  1. Correspondence to Dr Pablo De Lora, Department of Public Law and Legal Philosophy, Law School, Calle Kelsen s/n, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid 28049, Spain; pablo.delora{at}


In this paper we defend that elective ventilation (EV), even if conceived as the instrument to maximise the chances of organ recovery, is mainly the means to provide the patient who is dying with a dignified death in several ways, one of them being the possibility of becoming an organ donor. Because EV does not harm the patient and permits the medical team a better assessment of the patient's clinical trajectory and a better management of the dying process by the family, EV does not violate the principle of non-beneficence nor the principle of autonomy if we restrict the initiation of EV to those cases in which it is not known what the previous wishes of the patient were as regards to his or her care at the end of life.

  • Allocation of Organs/Tissues
  • End of Life Care
  • Transplantation
  • Definition/Determination of Death
  • Donation/Procurement of Organs/Tissues

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