Forced Organ Harvesting: Expanding the Dead Donor Rule
by Anne Zimmerman
When such an organ harvesting is not just nonconsensual, but performed in a way that causes a death or uses the pretense of brain death without meeting the criteria, it also violates the dead donor rule. The dead donor rule is both ethical and legal. Forced organ harvesting may breach the dead donor rule as it stands. A reimagined, broader dead donor rule could consider a larger timeframe in the forced organ harvesting context. In doing so, the broad dead donor rule could cover intent, premeditation, aiding and abetting, and due diligence failures.
This paper explores forced harvesting under the backdrop of the dead donor rule, arguing that a human rights violation so egregious requires holding even distant participants in the chain of events accountable. By interfering with resources necessary to carry out bad acts, legislation and corporate and institutional policies can act as powerful deterrents. A broader dead donor rule would highlight the premeditation and intent evidenced well before the act of organ retrieval.