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May 5, 2004

Surrogate Consent for Live Organ Donation

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie, MD, PhD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2004;291(17):2077. doi:10.1001/jama.291.17.2077-c

To the Editor: In their Controversies article, Ms Brown-Saltzman and colleagues1 described a case in which a family made a surrogate decision about organ donation on behalf of a living donor. Although the authors stated that "we are unaware of a legal precedent applicable to this case," there was in fact a related case in Ohio in 1998.2 The patient had been in a coma for 3 weeks and was registered with the state as an organ donor via his automobile driver's license. The judge ruled that a kidney could be removed and given to the patient's brother, on the rationale that the comatose patient's condition was irreversible, he could still live (comatose) with 1 kidney, and there was prior evidence that the patient wanted to be an organ donor.

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