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UoM administered thesis : Phd.

Grounding the Autonomy of Ethics

Autonomy, the law, and ante-mortem interventions to facilitate organ donation UoM administered thesis : Phd. Authors: Sarah-Jane Brown.

Abstract Over the last few years, policies have been introduced in the UK which aim to improve organ transplantation rates by changing the way that potential organ donors are treated before death. Patients incapacitated due to catastrophic brain injury may now undergo ante-mortem donor optimisation procedures to facilitate deceased organ donation.


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As I identify in this thesis, the most significant ethical and legal problem with these policies is that they are not based on what the patient would have chosen for themselves in the specific circumstances. The policies identify and treat patients meeting certain clinical criteria as a group rather than the individuals, with their own viewpoints, that the law on best interests requires.

They equate registration on the Organ Donation Register with ante-mortem donor optimisation procedures being in their best interests, despite registrants having neither been informed about nor given consent to ante-mortem interventions. All or Nothing: Capacity, Vulnerability and Autonomy.

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