The History and Ethics of Organ Donation: Questions Then, Questions Now

October 25, 2022 -
5:00pm to 6:30pm

Michael DeVita, MD
Professor of Clinical Internal Medicine
Columbia University Vagelos School of Physicians and Surgeons
Director of Palliative Care, Harlem Hospital Center in New York

Donation of organs after cessation of circulation (nonheart-bearting organ donation, NHBOD) is nearly as old as transplant medicine itself. NHBOD began because it was recognized early that living donors are exceedingly rare, and they must sustain harm as they donate. Brain dead donors eliminated the use of NHBOD, but both the need for organs and patients’ desire to donate after death led the University of Pittsburgh to considering resuming the practice. In this presentation, the events leading to the creation of the first policy for NHBOD, and then the transition from then to current practice will be discussed. Trends in law and practice suggest that the ethical concerns raised initially may be forgotten.

This Bioethics Colloquium is part of the Health Humanities Lecture Series of the Center for Bioethics & Health Law.

Location and Address

Barco Law Building, Room 113