qq-13 - States Revising Organ-Donation Law Critics Fear...

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States Revising Organ-Donation Law Critics Fear Measure May Not Go Far Enough to Protect Donors By Rob Stein Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, April 4, 2007; A01 State legislatures are rewriting legislation governing organ donations in one of the most ambitious initiatives in at least 20 years to alleviate the chronic shortage of kidneys, livers and other body parts, an effort that some doctors and ethicists fear tilts too far toward allowing organs to be taken. Virginia, Idaho, Utah and South Dakota have already adopted a model law designed to make organ donation easier by clarifying a host of sensitive questions. An especially tricky one is how to handle unconscious patients who signed donor cards but also specified that they did not want to be kept alive on life-support. Another one is what doctors should do when the family of a dying person who agreed to be a donor objects to surgeons taking their loved one's organs. "Every hour, a patient dies for the lack of an available organ," said Carlyle C. Ring Jr., who chaired the panel that wrote the model law. "Our hope is this could help with this critical health problem." The measure awaits the signatures of the governors of Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa and New Mexico. At least 17 other states, plus the District and the U.S. Virgin Islands, are considering the legislation. Supporters hope it is adopted nationwide. While praised by transplant advocates, the model law has stirred concern among some doctors and bioethicists. Critics say it could result in people becoming donors or kept on life support against their or their family's wishes. And some worry that the measure could make doctors more hesitant about administering morphine and other drugs to make dying patients comfortable, for fear of rendering their organs useless for transplantation. The revised model law is the latest in a series of initiatives by transplant advocates to boost the
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qq-13 - States Revising Organ-Donation Law Critics Fear...

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