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Book and Media Reviews
April 25, 2012

Death, Dying, and Organ Transplantation: Reconstructing Medical Ethics at the End of Life

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine and Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor (

JAMA. 2012;307(16):1754-1755. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.521

Medical ethics is not without its controversies, yet some doctrines in the field have near-universal acceptance. Three such prevailing beliefs are (1) that donors of vital organs (heart, liver, lungs, and both kidneys) must be dead before organs can be removed for life-saving transplantation; (2) that critically ill and dying patients die of their illnesses once life-sustaining efforts are withdrawn (not from treatment removal); and (3) that individuals exhibiting brain death are dead.

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