This week at GM, we had a rousing discussion about organ donation and transplant. In 1954, medical science took a huge leap since Harvard surgeons were able to transfer a kidney between twins at Brigham hospital. Since then, organ transplants have saved millions of lives, but there have been numerous ethical concerns raised about the process.
Increasingly, there is a large gap between the supply and demand of organs, in addition to a large number of deaths due to long waiting times for these organs. This gap has led to a thriving black market for organs in certain parts of the world. Paradoxically, a large percentage of people are in support of organ donations, but they are not in the donor registry themselves.
There have been increasing questions in terms of how a patient is declared dead as an organ donor. In Denmark, there are two ways of declaring a person dead: cardiac death and brain death. It is more difficult to find the line for brain death, and if a person is an organ donor, people have some concerns that this line will be blurred.