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September 14, 1994

Organ Salvage PoliciesA Need for Better Data and More Insightful Ethics

Author Affiliations

From the Center for Biomedical Ethics, School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio (Drs Murray and Youngner), and the Division of General Internal Medicine and Clinical Ethics Program, University Hospitals of Cleveland, Ohio (Dr Youngner).

JAMA. 1994;272(10):814-815. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520100076038

Salvaging organs from the bodies of the newly dead is a project of great medical urgency and cultural significance. The Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs of the American Medical Association (AMA) has recently completed two reports on possible changes in public policy intended to increase the supply of transplantable organs. One of these reports, dealing with policies known as mandated choice and presumed consent, appears in this issue of THE Journal.1 The other report, on financial incentives, was adopted by the AMA House of Delegates and is AMA policy, though it is not published herein.2

See also p 809.

The two AMA reports share the same good intention. There are more people in desperate need of transplantable organs than there are organs available. Lives could be extended if more organs could be obtained. In the Council's judgment, two of the policies discussed—mandated choice and a form of financial

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