In order to alleviate the shortage of vital organs for transplant, we propose a system of routine removal of cadaver organs with an option of informed refusal by family. Unless an individual registered an objection during his or her lifetime, or unless the family objected to the procedure, clinicians would be permitted routinely to salvage vital organs for transplant. Our proposal charts a middle path between the current ineffective policy based on “encouraged voluntarism” and “presumed consent” policies that promise effectiveness at the cost of violating traditional ethical and legal principles. In this article, we analyze the failure of the current regime, articulate a policy of routine removal subject to the right of informed refusal, and defend this policy against several possible objections.

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