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April 18, 2001

Attitudes and Practices in Postmortem Organ Procurement—Reply

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorJody W.ZylkeMD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2001;285(15):1958-1960. doi:10.1001/jama.285.15.1958

In Reply: I am pleased that the AOPO endorses my call for a public reexamination of organ transplantation policies and practices as part of Congress' reauthorization of the National Organ Transplant Act. Among other things, such a process must address the practice documented by Dr Wendler and Mr Dickert1 of OPOs acceding to family members' wishes and overriding deceased persons' choice to donate their organs. Notwithstanding Ms Gunderson's unsupported denial, such OPO practices have been shown to exacerbate the shortage of organs for transplantation, as mentioned in the letter from Ms Ramalingam and colleagues. The claim that OPOs are simply exercising the "wide latitude" allegedly given them by state laws is at best disingenuous, for the clear intent of the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act is to make premortem donation choices legally effective.