As transplantation success rates have improved, the demand for donor organs has steadily increased. A shortage of donor organs has led to legislation requiring hospital personnel to provide families routinely with the opportunity to authorize organ donation. Primary physicians have an important role in identifying potential donors while continuing to assure that the survivors' needs are met. The major implications of organ donation for the primary physician are reviewed. Patients who die will more frequently be eligible as corneal, skin, or bone donors, but the criteria for both tissue and internal organ donation are reviewed. Ethical issues unique to organ donation and responses of survivors to donation requests are described. If appropriately offered, the opportunity to authorize an anatomic gift can be a source of comfort to survivors while the donation provides the benefits of transplantation to persons on organ waiting lists.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine