end-of-life issues

RCA Backs Off Stand On Brain Death For Transplants

Critics see move as jeopardizing lives of Orthodox Jews; internal study cites ‘rabbinic confusion’ on issue.

11/30/2010
Staff Writer

In a move termed by one leading critic “an act of anti-Semitism” that may cause the medical community to deny organ transplants to Orthodox Jews, the central body of Modern Orthodox rabbis in the U.S. is backing away from using brain death as the indicator of death.

The move is significant because vital organs can be transplanted from people declared brain dead, but they are not viable if doctors have to wait for the heart and breathing to stop.

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