Family refusals of registered consents: the disruption of organ donation by double-standard surrogate decision-making

Intern Med J. 2013 Feb;43(2):120-3. doi: 10.1111/imj.12029.


Some countries such as Australia, Spain, Norway, Italy and Canada allow next of kin to override the consent of registered organ donor candidates if they personally do not concur with the donation desire of their relative. This form of surrogate decision-making represents a double standard in terms of the principle of substituted judgment (the surrogate's duty). Further, double-standard surrogate decision-making in the setting of organ donation is a slippery slope to unethical surrogate decision-making while patients are alive. Concerns about family distress and donor candidate revocation of consent can still be managed without permitting double-standard surrogate decision-making.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Decision Making*
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent / ethics
  • Informed Consent / standards
  • Registries / ethics*
  • Registries / standards
  • Third-Party Consent / ethics*
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / ethics*
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / methods
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / standards