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September 23, 1988

Anencephalic Organ Donor Program Suspended; Loma Linda Report Expected to Detail Findings

JAMA. 1988;260(12):1671-1672. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410120019004

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TAKING HEALTHY HEARTS from doomed babies born without a brain and giving them to brain-intact infants who had life-threatening congenital heart defects seemed like a good idea to the transplant team at Loma Linda (Calif) University Medical Center nine months ago. Suspension of the research protocol was announced last month after Leonard Bailey, MD, of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery and his colleagues failed for various reasons to perform even one such procedure, despite having a dozen anencephalic infants flown by Learjet to Loma Linda from around the country.

Final Decision Pending  Now the institution is rethinking its approach and is issuing a report said to contain "a wealth of information obtained from the study." A final decision on the future of the program will be made after all the information is evaluated.According to Dick Schaefer, Loma Linda's director of community relations, the medical center remained committed late last