The Ciba Foundation held the first international, interdisciplinary conference on ethical and legal issues in transplantation in March 1966. Many of the ethical issues discussed at that conference remain with us today. Organ procurement and transplantation have forced the medical community and society at large to ask such fundamental questions as when are we dead, how can death be declared so that any life‐support measures can be discontinued? Is it ethical to remove an organ or part of an organ from a living person? Since there is such a shortage of organ and people on transplant waiting lists die for lack of an organ, what types of incentives, if any, can be used to increase the organ supply? Transplant centers face additional ethical issues. How can a limited supply of organs be fairly allocated to a large number of patients on the waiting list? Are the methods of putting patients on the waiting list appropriate? Transplant centers are regulated by a variety of governmental organizations. These organizations may have performance criteria. Do these performance criteria lead transplant centers to modify which organs they will accept or which patients they will list? As long as a shortage of organs remains, these ethical issues are likely to persist.
Part of the book: Bioethics