The Dead and Their Families

T. M. Wilkinson

in Ethics and the Acquisition of Organs

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199607860
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731747 | DOI:

Series: Issues in Biomedical Ethics

The Dead and Their Families

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This chapter considers the power of families to override the consent of the deceased to donate and to permit retrieval from the deceased who had not consented. The chapter assesses three main arguments for family decision‐making authority: that it is the best way to provide what the deceased had wanted; that the family have a claim in its own right; and that overriding the family would cause a fall in the supply of organs. This chapter argues that we often do not know whether asking families would best provide what the deceased had wanted; that the family does have a claim in its own right, but only not to be distressed, a consideration of limited scope and weight; and that the family probably should have a power of veto given the likely effect on the supply of organs.

Keywords: families; family veto; distress; deceased; consent; organ supply

Chapter.  10286 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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