Elective ventilation for organ donation: law, policy and public ethics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines questions concerning elective ventilation, contextualised within English law and policy. It presents the general debate with reference both to the Exeter Protocol on elective ventilation, and the considerable developments in legal principle since the time that that protocol was declared to be unlawful. I distinguish different aspects of what might be labelled elective ventilation policies under the following four headings: 'basic elective ventilation'; 'epistemically complex elective ventilation'; 'practically complex elective ventilation'; and 'epistemically and practically complex elective ventilation'. I give a legal analysis of each. In concluding remarks on their potential practical viability, I emphasise the importance not just of ascertaining the legal and ethical acceptability of these and other forms of elective ventilation, but also of assessing their professional and political acceptability. This importance relates both to the successful implementation of the individual practices, and to guarding against possible harmful effects in the wider efforts to increase the rates of posthumous organ donation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-4
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Medical Ethics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


  • Brain Death
  • Critical Care
  • Great Britain
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Life Support Care
  • Medical Futility
  • Organ Transplantation
  • Patient Admission
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Third-Party Consent
  • Tissue Donors
  • Tissue and Organ Harvesting
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement
  • Uncertainty


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