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Research Letter
April 11, 2017

Potential Number of Organ Donors After Euthanasia in Belgium

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Intensive Care Medicine, Maastricht University Medical Center, the Netherlands
  • 2Surgery, Maastricht University Medical Center, the Netherlands
  • 3Health Law, Maastricht University, the Netherlands
  • 4Pediatric Surgery, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • 5Transplant Surgery, University Hospital Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
JAMA. 2017;317(14):1476-1477. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.0729

Organ donation after euthanasia involves patients whose request to undergo euthanasia has been granted and who voluntarily want to donate their organs after death. It requires patients to undergo euthanasia in the hospital, and organ donation is performed after circulatory death. The practice is controversial and currently only allowed in Belgium and the Netherlands. Even in these countries, it is rarely performed; as of August 2016, 43 patients undergoing euthanasia had donated organs.1 Organ donation after euthanasia has been described in a practical manual, which addresses the medical, ethical, and legal aspects of performing euthanasia and donation after circulatory death.2

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