Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Abandoning the Dead Donor Rule

Abstract

The Dead Donor Rule is intended to protect the public and patients, but it remains contentious. Here, I argue that we can abandon the Dead Donor Rule. Using Joel Feinberg’s account of harm, I argue that, in most cases, particularly when patients consent to being organ donors, death does not harm permanently unconscious (PUC) patients. In these cases, then, causing the death of PUC patients is not morally wrong. This undermines the strongest argument for the Dead Donor Rule—that doctors ought not kill their patients. Thus, there is nothing wrong with abandoning the Dead Donor Rule with regard to PUC patients. Importantly, the harm-based argument defended here allows us to sidestep the thorny debate surrounding definitions of death. What matters is not when a patient dies but whether their death constitutes some further harm.

  • death
  • transplantation
  • ethics- medical
  • tissue and organ procurement

Data availability statement

No data are available.

Statistics from Altmetric.com

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Other content recommended for you