An increasing number of patients receive transplants of organs procured
from living donors.1 Organ donors provide the
"gift of life" because of a desire to help another individual. Usually the
organ recipient is a close relative because affection and a desire for the
well-being of the ill individual needing the transplant are also substantial
incentives for donation. A recent consensus statement on the live organ donor
noted that "the person who gives consent to be a live organ donor should be
competent, willing to donate, free from coercion, . . . " and fully informed.2 This consensus statement does not explicitly address
the potential for surrogates to consent to organ recovery from an incompetent
adult, although such clinical circumstances present themselves occasionally.3 Some actively oppose surrogate consent, presumably
because of anticipated negative effects on public perceptions about organ
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