Ethical considerations for theatre teams in organ donation after circulatory determination of death

Br J Anaesth. 2023 May;130(5):502-507. doi: 10.1016/j.bja.2023.01.018. Epub 2023 Feb 16.


Transplant surgery is an area that gives rise to a number of ethical considerations. As medicine continues to expand the boundaries of what is technically possible, we must consider the ethical implications of our interventions, not solely on patients and society, but also on those asked to provide that care. Here, we consider physician participation in procedures required to provide patient care in the context of the ethical convictions held by the physician, with an emphasis on organ donation after circulatory determination of death. Strategies that can be used to mitigate any potential negative impact on the psychological well-being of members of the patient care team are considered.

Keywords: brain death; burnout; circulatory arrest; ethics; moral agency; organ donation; physician autonomy; well-being.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Death
  • Humans
  • Organ Transplantation*
  • Patient Care Team
  • Tissue Donors
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement*