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February 14, 1996

Reconsideration of AMA Opinion on Anencephalic Neonates as Organ Donors

Author Affiliations

Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs American Medical Association Chicago, Ill

JAMA. 1996;275(6):443-444. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530300027023

To the Editor.  —In May 1995, the report of the American Medical Association's (AMA's) Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs1 permitting the use of anencephalic neonates as organ donors was published in JAMA. At the June 1995 Annual Meeting of the AMA's House of Delegates, the Council was asked to reconsider its ethical opinion. Per this request, the Council undertook review of additional submitted scientific evidence on the condition of anencephaly.In December 1995, the Council reported at the AMA Interim Meeting that it would suspend its opinion deeming use of anencephalic organs prior to legal death ethically permissible. This brings the ethical policy of the AMA back in line with the United Network for Organ Sharing's position on harvesting organs from infants with anencephaly2 and supports adherence to the "dead donor rule" in public policy.3The Council believes its report published in JAMA contributed to an