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Another Voice
The Debate over Death Determination in DCD

Organ donation after the circulatory determination of death has become a standard medical practice in the developed world. Despite its widespread acceptance, though, the question of whether the donor is actually dead at the moment of donation persists. In this issue, Don Marquis concludes that DCD donors are indeed not dead at the moment of donation because the cessation of their cardiac function is not irreversible.

I believe DCD survives Marquis’s criticisms, although careful attention to the details is necessary to see why.

Organ donation after the circulatory determination of death has become a standard medical practice in the developed world. Despite its widespread acceptance, though, the question of whether the donor is actually dead at the moment of donation persists. In this issue, Don Marquis concludes that DCD donors are indeed not dead at the moment of donation because the cessation of their cardiac function is not irreversible.

I believe DCD survives Marquis’s criticisms, although careful attention to the details is necessary to see why.

James L. Bernat, "The Debate over Death Determination in DCD,"Hastings Center Report 40, no 3 (2010): 3.
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