Organ Procurement: Do Doctors Belong In the Room?

By FASPE Medical Fellows Alexa Kanbergs and Joseph Scarpa, Jr.

Organ Procurement Organizations typically broach the difficult subject of organ procurement with the families of dying or otherwise incapacitated patients.  However, physicians may also play this role after specialized training. Is it appropriate for a physician to engage in this role at all? How does one balance the obligation to the dying patient with the benefit of organ donation for the living patient? Since specialized organizations exist to fulfill this role, should physicians be involved in this process at all?  Or do intermediaries allow physicians to remain within a clearer ethical boundary while promoting the value of organ donation?

Read more from the American Medical Association.