My first published piece arguing against assisted suicide appeared in Newsweek’s “My Turn” feature way back in 1993. Among other points, I warned that assisted suicide would one day be tied to organ transplantation “as a plum to society.” This has been advocated in some professional journals in the years since, but I never could find direct evidence of it actually happeninguntil now.
I just learned of a letter to the editor published in the medical journal Transplantation two years ago recounting how doctors euthanized a woman with “locked in” syndromefully conscious but totally paralyzedat her request, and thenalso at her requestharvested her organs for transplantation after she was killed. The author/doctors’ conclusion:
This case of two separate requests, first euthanasia and second, organ donation after death, demonstrates that organ harvesting after euthanasia may be considered and accepted from ethical, legal and practical viewpoints in countries where euthanasia is legally accepted. This possibility may increase the number of transplantable organs and may also provide some comfort to the donor and his (her) family, considering that the termination of the patients life may somehow help other human beings in need for organ transplantation.
More details and analysis over at Secondhand Smoke .