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Editorials: POINT/COUNTERPOINT EDITORIALS |

Point: Are Donors After Circulatory Death Really Dead, and Does It Matter? Yes and Yes

James L. Bernat, MD; President’s Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Biomedical and Behavioral Research
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Financial/nonfinancial disclosures: The author has reported to CHEST that no potential conflicts of interest exist with any companies/organizations whose products or services may be discussed in this article.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (www.chestpubs.org/site/misc/reprints.xhtml).


© 2010 American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 2010;138(1):13-16. doi:10.1378/chest.10-0649
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Organ donation after the circulatory determination of death (DCDD) has become a common practice in the United States, Canada, and many European countries during the past 2 decades.1 DCDD programs are desirable for society because they increase the organ pool and for families because they offer the opportunity for organ donation from patients who are not brain dead. As in this case, families may consent to organ donation after the patient has been declared dead after cessation of circulation and breathing following an earlier decision to discontinue life-sustaining therapy. Programs in the United States and Canada permit such controlled DCDD, but most exclude uncontrolled DCDD on patients declared dead after failed CPR. The generally accepted principles of DCDD2 are listed in Table 1.

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