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February 11, 2004

Surrogate Consent for Living Related Organ Donation

UCLA Medical Center Ethics Committee UCLA Renal Transplant Program*
Author Affiliations

*Authors: The writing committee of the UCLA Medical Center Ethics Committee and UCLA Renal Transplant Program included Katherine Brown-Saltzman, RN, MA, Allison Diamant, MD, Iris Cohen Fineberg, PhD, MSW, H. Albin Gritsch, MD, Michael Keane, MD, Stanley Korenman, MD, Michelle Lewis, MD, JD, Marshall Morgan, MD, Les Rothenberg, JD, Alexander Tymchuk, PhD, Fredda Weiss, Irwin Weiss, MD, Neil Wenger, MD, and Fran Wiley, RN.


Controversies Section Editor: Phil B. Fontanarosa, MD, Executive Deputy Editor.

JAMA. 2004;291(6):728-731. doi:10.1001/jama.291.6.728

An increasing number of patients receive transplants of organs procured from living donors.1 Organ donors provide the "gift of life" because of a desire to help another individual. Usually the organ recipient is a close relative because affection and a desire for the well-being of the ill individual needing the transplant are also substantial incentives for donation. A recent consensus statement on the live organ donor noted that "the person who gives consent to be a live organ donor should be competent, willing to donate, free from coercion, . . . " and fully informed.2 This consensus statement does not explicitly address the potential for surrogates to consent to organ recovery from an incompetent adult, although such clinical circumstances present themselves occasionally.3 Some actively oppose surrogate consent, presumably because of anticipated negative effects on public perceptions about organ donation.4,5