In the Netherlands, doctors are currently in the process of drafting protocols which could increase the number of organs available for transplantation. How? By collecting organs from patients who have requested euthanasia. If the procedure is ratified, it would become obligatory in hospitals and for doctors across the country.
As far as surgeons specialising in organ transplantation are concerned, patients’ healthy organs are “wasted” when the patients undergo euthanasia. Gert van Dijk, a medical ethics expert for the Royal Dutch Medical Association explains that “between 5 and 10% of the people who undergo euthanasia could be considered for organ donation. […] This would amount to an additional 250 to 500 potential donors each year“.
The following guidelines would govern organ donation from euthanised subjects:
- The euthanasia and organ donation procedures must be clear-cut. Only a person who satisfies all euthanasia criteria would be admissible for organ donation;
- The idea of organ donation must come from the patient himself/herself, not the doctor;
- Only doctors who are not involved in organ donation can approve a patient for euthanasia;
- Doctors who practise euthanasia must sign a hospital indemnity declaration in the event of any future legal proceedings.
Bioedge (Michael Cook) 29/11/2014