While procurement of organs from donors who are not "brain dead" does not appear to pose insurmountable moral obstacles, the social practice may raise questions of conflict of interest. Non-heart-beating organ donation opens the door for pressure on patients or families to forgo possibly beneficial treatment to provide organs to save others.

The combined effects of non-heart-beating donation and organ shortages at major transplant centers brought about by the 1991 United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) local-use organ allocation policy created potential conflicts, including the fact that candidates for organs become potential donors far more frequently than previously. Hospitals with a major emphasis on transplantation have economic and academic interests that may have been hurt by the relative organ shortage. Some may view non-heart-beating organ donation as a way to restore weakened programs and thus unconsciously compromise recognition of problems associated with non-heart-beating donation.


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pp. 189-198
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