Philadelphia, Pa., Sep 24, 2011 / 07:16 am (CNA).- A top Catholic ethicist is calling for donor guidelines that are clear to the public after a proposal was made to allow surgeons to retrieve organs from donors less than two minutes after their hearts stop beating.
“The tendency to want to shorten the waiting period, admittedly out of a desire to help those in need of organs, raises the danger of using the dying to benefit others,” said Dr. John Haas, president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia, Pa.
“It is important that the facts of the case are clearly and consistently articulated by the transplantation community,” he underscored. “There will be no organ transplantation without the trust of the public.”
On Sept. 19, the Washington Post highlighted the United Network for Organ Sharing's new proposed rules that would permit surgeons to proceed with organ removal before the current deadline of two minutes after a donor’s heart stops beating. The move would decrease the chance that a patient's heart could spontaneously restart.
Supporters of the new rules argue that the guidelines will ensure that a patient's wish to donate his organs will be respected. Critics, however, state that the proposed changes run the risk of dehumanizing patients into mere sources for materials.