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10 J. Health & Biomedical L. 309 (2014)
Informing Donors about Hand and Face Transplants: Time to Update the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act

handle is hein.journals/jhbio10 and id is 351 raw text is: 


                                                    Journal ofHealth & Biomedical Law, X (2015): 309-326
                                                            0 2015 Journal ofHealth & Biomedical Law
                                                                      Suffolk University Law School

Informing Donors about Hand and Face Transplants:

Time to Update the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act

Brendan Parent'


         Hands and faces are now legally considered organs for donation purposes. To procure them for
transplant, explicit consent is required from either the donor during his ife, or from a surrogate after
death. Because most people do not consider hand and face donations when deciding whether to become
donors, and no donor registU explicity explains that hands and faces are donatable parts, consent falls
to surrogates. The benefits of rehabilitation and social reintegration for hand and face recpients are
proving szgnicant. However, this does not justify transplanting hands and faces from deceased peopl
who were not adequately informed while alive that these bodj parts mlght be donated unless thy
explicitly refuse. Some people might not want to donate uniquely expressive body parts while wanting to
donate other organs. As the practice becomes more widey known, lack of transpareng may diminish
the availability of other organs zf people find they cannot easily opt out of hand and face or other
composite tissue donations. The Uniform Anatomical Gift Act should be amended to encourage state
donor registries to inform donors about all tpes of transplants and to provide clear mechanisms for
opting in and out of specijic types of donations.


         In early July of 2014, hands and faces were added to the definition of organs
 used by the nation's organ and tissue procurement agencies for the purposes of
 donation and transplantation.2 However, if a person registers as a donor either through

 1 Brendan Parent, JD, is a Rudin Post-Doctoral Fellow in the division of Medical Ethics at NYU
 Langone Medical Center, and is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the NYU School of Professional
 Studies. He also is a consulting attorney for the NY Task Force on Life and the Law. Parent
 received his undergraduate degree in Bioethics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and
 his law.degree from Georgetown University Law Center. He thanks his supervisor, Art Caplan,
 for the idea and his wife, Jane Pucher, for consistently insightful critique. The author of this
 manuscript has no conflicts of interest to disclose.
 2 See Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, Vascular Composite Allografts to be Added to
 OPTN Final Rule and Federal Definitions of Organs, U.S. DEP'T OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVS. (July

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