Dalhousie Law Journal


euthanasia, death, suffering, Canada, organ donation, ethics


Euthanasia, the administration of therapy designed to hasten death, particularly in patients with intolerable suffering, has been gaining in acceptance in countries around the world, most recently in Canada. Organ donation from deceased organ donors has always been performed under the strictures of the dead donor rule, the requirement that donors be declared dead prior to any organ recovery. Recent scientific and ethical investigations, however, have questioned whether all donors, whether pronounced based on neurologic (brain death) or circulatory criteria are, in fact, dead. One potential approach to this quandary would be to abandon the fiction imposed by the dead donor rule and consider the possibility of organ donation as another mode of euthanasia. This approach would be much more precise philosophically, provide such donors with a "gooddeath" not always possible with current organ recovery techniques, and potentially also increase organ availability.