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Traditional ideas around the meaning of death have been altered irrevocably by technological advances from the mid-20th century. Modern definitions of death are problematic both technically and conceptually and have been subjected to numerous legal challenges, especially in the USA. Studies by a number of groups, including our own, suggest that family decisions about organ donation place the most importance on prognosis and consent, rather than the presence of death. Some authors have suggested that, contrary to what is assumed, principles such as the ‘Dead Donor Rule’ serve mainly to provide comfort for participating doctors, and are ethically unnecessary. Organ donation and the diagnosis of death remain ethically controversial in the 21st century.
Critical Care Doctors
Experienced or advanced Critical Care Nurses
Upon completion of this activity, you should be able to:
1 November 2020
31 October 2023
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