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January 6, 1969

The Ethics of Heart TransplantationA Personal View

Author Affiliations

From the Research Division of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

JAMA. 1969;207(1):109-113. doi:10.1001/jama.1969.03150140061009

It seems a pity we have to spend so much time discussing and documenting not the scientific aspects of heart transplantation but the diverse problems related to it. However, a critical evaluation of these "happenings" can be most valuable, particularly in exposing for possible correction many of the unspoken and unexplored facets of medical practice and ethics. It is time to examine methods of scientific communication, criteria of death, confidentiality, rights of individuals, and the behavior of physicians, all quite aside from the value of cardiac transplantation as an experiment or a practical treatment.

But I must warn you that I am no better prepared than anyone else to give definitive answers. My only claim to be heard is based on seniority and my belief that those who ignore the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them. I shall place my views at your disposal for consideration, not