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Project to get transplant organs from ER patients raises ethics questions

Washington Post, March 15, 2010

Using a $321,000 grant from the Department of Health and Human Services, the emergency departments at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center-Presbyterian Hospital and Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh have started rapidly identifying donors among patients whom doctors are unable to save and taking steps to preserve their organs so a transplant team can rush to try to retrieve them. Obtaining organs from emergency room patients has long been considered off-limits in the United States because of ethical and logistical concerns, the Washington Post reports. This pilot project aims to investigate whether it is feasible and, if so, to encourage other hospitals nationwide to follow.