Are we ready to utilize non-heart-beating donors for clinical allotransplantation in China?
The concept of brain death has not been accepted by the majority of Chinese. Importantly, it is not recognized as a legal entity. We have developed a non-heart-beating donation protocol based on literature searches (Medline, Ovid, and CNKI) and issues related to Chinese customs and ethics. The principles guiding protocol development included: separation of the decision to terminate life support from the donation decision, family-centered donation, freedom of conflict interest, and prohibition of organ sales. This protocol covers donation policy, potential donor identification and evaluation, family consent, determination of death, procurement, and special legal documents/organ distribution policy. A random survey was performed regarding donation. There have been several arguments about the development of this protocol. First, do donor family members have the right to make a decision to withdraw life support? Another issue is whether family members have the right to consent to donation without a will from the donor. Our survey found that over 96.1% of people do not have a will and have not discussed their interests in donation with family members. The last issue is whether the hospital can financially help for the funeral after donation. We have debated these issues nationwide with various opinions. We hope to find the right solutions through international debate. We believe that the use of non-heart-beating-donor organs has potential in China. We are hopeful that it will become a major organ source that is developed in such a way so as to be accepted internationally as well as in China.
Liu, Z; Zhu, B; Yun, P; Wang, P; Wang, X; Xu, H
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