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Legal Briefing: Organ Donation

Journal of Clinical Ethics, Vol. 21, No. 3, 2010

Posted: 5 Aug 2010 Last revised: 1 Jul 2014

Thaddeus Mason Pope

Mitchell Hamline School of Law; Queensland University of Technology - Australian Health Law Research Center; Saint Georges University; Alden March Bioethics Institute

Date Written: August 3, 2010


Since 2009, Professor Pope has authored a quarterly "Legal Briefing" column for the Journal of Clinical Ethics. Each briefing comprehensively reviews legal developments concerning a particular issue in clinical bioethics. The Journal of Clinical Ethics owns the exclusive copyright to distribute the full-text content.

This issue’s "Legal Briefing" column covers legal developments pertaining to organ donation and allocation. This topic has been the subject of recent articles in this journal. Organ donation and allocation has also recently been the subject of significant public policy attention. Over the past several months, legislatures and regulatory agencies across the United States and across the world have changed, or considered changing, the methods for procuring and distributing human organs for transplantation.

Currently, in the United States, more than 100,000 persons are waiting for organ transplantation. In China more than 1.5 million people are waiting. Given the chronic shortage of available organs (especially kidneys and livers) relative to demand, the primary focus of most legal developments has been on increasing the rate of donation.

These and related developments are usefully divided into the following thirteen topical categories: (1) Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, (2) Presumed Consent and Opt-Out, (3) Mandated Choice, (4) Donation after Cardiac Death, (5) Payment and Compensation, (6) Donation by Prisoners, (7) Donor Registries, (8) Public Education, (9) Other Procurement Initiatives, (10) Lawsuits and Liability, (11) Trafficking and Tourism, and (13) Allocation and Distribution.

Keywords: organ donation, organ transplantation, consent, medical ethics, health law

JEL Classification: K32

Suggested Citation

Pope, Thaddeus Mason, Legal Briefing: Organ Donation (August 3, 2010). Journal of Clinical Ethics, Vol. 21, No. 3, 2010. Available at SSRN:

Thaddeus Mason Pope (Contact Author)

Mitchell Hamline School of Law ( email )

875 Summit Avenue
Room 320
Saint Paul, MN 55105
United States
651-695-7661 (Phone)


Queensland University of Technology - Australian Health Law Research Center ( email )

2 George Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4000

Saint Georges University ( email )

West Indies


Alden March Bioethics Institute ( email )

47 New Scotland Ave
MC 153
Albany, NY 12208
United States


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