The WSMA has established the following guidelines for organ
transplantations to aid physicians in fulfilling their ethical
responsibilities when they engage in transplantations.
Care must be taken to protect the rights of both the donor and the
recipient, and no physician may assume a responsibility in organ
transplantation unless the rights of both donor and recipient are
The physician should provide his patient, who may be a prospective organ
donor, with that care usually given other being treated for a similar
injury or disease.
When a vital, single organ is to be transplanted, the death of the donor
shall have been determined by at least one physician other than the
recipient's physician. Death shall be determined by the clinical
judgment of the physician. In making this determination, the ethical
physician will use currently accepted available scientific tests.
Full discussion of the proposed procedure with the donor and recipient
or their responsible relatives or representatives is mandatory. The
physician should be objective in discussing the procedure, in disclosing
known risks and possible hazards, and in advising of the alternative
procedures available. The physician should not encourage expectations
beyond those which the circumstances justify. The physician's interest
in advancing scientific knowledge must always be secondary to his
primary concern for the patient.
Transplant procedures of body organs should be undertaken:
only by physicians who possess special medical knowledge and
technical competence developed through special training, study, and
laboratory experience and practice; and b) in medical institutions
with facilities adequate to protect the health and well-being of the
parties to the procedure.
Transplantation of body organs should be undertaken only after careful
evaluation of the availability and effectiveness of other possible
(JC 2.12-87) (Reaffirmed A-23)
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Abbreviations for House of Delegates report origination:
EC – Executive Committee; BT – Board of Trustees; CPA – Council on
Professional Affairs; JC – Judicial Council; CHS – Community and Health