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August 18, 2008

Do Not Forget Organ and Tissue Donation

Arch Surg. 2008;143(8):807. doi:10.1001/archsurg.143.8.807-b

In a comprehensive and sensitive manner, Taylor et al1 have provided an outstanding algorithm for approaching the unexpected intraoperative death of a patient. However, an important opportunity was missed by excluding consideration of organ and tissue donation in either the proactive or reactive phases they described. When surgeons have the privilege of participating in the end of a person's life, we simultaneously represent the interests of thousands of people whose lives depend on the benevolence of others. Failing to embrace this cause and overlooking even one opportunity to encourage the gift of life translate directly into preventable deaths.