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Death, Dying, and Organ Transplantation: Reconstructing Medical Ethics at the End of Life Hardcover – October 28, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0199739172 ISBN-10: 019973917X Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews


Although the authors draw extensively from their argumentation in published articles, this is their first full-length presentation... Their argument should be taken seriously by academic bioethicists." -- DOODY'S

"This slender, 174-page book is engaging and will have broad interest to all professionals and academicians whose work touches on issues surrounding the withdrawal of lifesustaining treatment, vital organ transplantation, or both. I highly recommend Death, Dying, and Organ Transplantation: Reconstructing Medical Ethics at the End of Life and consider it one of the best bioethics texts I have read in the last year." -- Andrew R. Barnosky, DO, MPH, JAMA

The core metaphysical conclusion of the book is that "the human being dies when the body ceases to function as an organism, which is marked by the irreversible cessation of circulation and respiration" (p. 78). In support of this claim, the authors draw on a rich acquaintance with clinical practice, the relevant neuroscience, and the scientific and political history of the notion of brain death, offering a highly informed case for the view that the elimination of brain function does not destroy the ability of the rest of the organism to function in an integrated fashion." -- The Hastings Center Report

"This book is amodel of quality scholarship in bioethics. The central arguments are detailed, carefully constructed, empirically well grounded, and are presented in cogent, clear prose with an economy of style, all of which are helpful to the reader in readily identifying loci of agreement and disagreement." -- Benjamin E. Hippen, Metrolina Nephrology Associates, The American Journal of Bioethics

"An extensive, relevant bibliography supports the text. Summing up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above." - J.N. Muzio, emeritus, CUNY Kingsborough Community College, CHOICE

"This book is very well developed in the challenges posed to the current way of thinking about clinical death and how these challenges relate to the current organ... Students and clinicians who work with patients in intensive care unit settings will benefit in many ways from the content in this book. Expanding one's mind beyond the status quo always results in meaningful knowledge and personal growth, whether one accepts the precepts or not." -- Lisa Anderson, DrPH, MA, MSN, Clinical Ethics Consult Service, University of Illinois Medical Center

"Whether one agrees with Miller and Truog's viewpoints and proposals, there is no denying that this is a stimulating and thoroughly engaging book...although the book's focus is on issues at the end of life, it also carries implications for other areas over which the discourse of medical ethics casts a critical eye. For that reason, it is likely to appeal to practitioners,
teachers and students of medicine and medical ethics." -- Kartina A. Choong, University of Central Lancashire, Medical Law Review

About the Author

Franklin G. Miller, Ph.D. is a member of the senior faculty in the Department of Bioethics, National Institutes of Health NIH. Dr. Miller has edited five books and written numerous published articles in medical and bioethics journals on the ethics of clinical research, ethical issues concerning death and dying, professional integrity, pragmatism and bioethics, and the placebo effect. Dr. Miller is a fellow of the Hastings Center and a Faculty Affiliate at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics.

Robert D. Truog, MD, is Professor of Medical Ethics, Anaesthesia and Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. He has practiced pediatric intensive care medicine at Boston Children's Hospital for more than 20 years, and he has published more than 200 articles in bioethics and related disciplines.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (October 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019973917X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199739172
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1 x 6.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #577,729 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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11 of 18 people found the following review helpful By S. Doran on January 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The authors appropriately point out problems with the current practices of organ donation after declaration of brain death and organ donation after circulatory death. They point out the ethical and biological problems with death declaration under these two circumstances and argue that a dead donor is not necessary for organ donation to proceed. They propose that organ donation should be permissible without a dead donor if dual consent is obtained to withdraw life sustaining treatment and donate vital organs. Unfortunately, the authors have a pre-existing bias in favor of organ donation that leads them to the wrong conclusion. That is, if brain dead patients are not truly dead and patients who have organs harvested after a few moments of cardiac arrest are also not truly dead, then health care practitioners should eliminate the dead donor rule and harvest organs from patients who are still alive! The authors present a utilitarian view that suggests that the greater good is served by saving the lives of some patients by harvesting the organs of the not-yet-dead.
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