Re: Organ donation

Lili Pauli (phenya@ccsg.tau.ac.il)
Fri, 11 Jul 1997 17:07:16 +0300

RJDLMMSB@aol.com asked:
>What is the orthodox position on organ donation?

drockove@juno.com (David Rockove) replied:
>To the best of my knowledge, if the organs will save a Jewish person it is
> O.K.

I attended a Halacha & Medicine conference a number of years ago in
Yerushalayim. The issues discussed were sources in the Gemara for Organ
Removal (runners in David's army had the Pancreas removed), what
constitutes a gravely ill person and what if one hasten's his death.
Finally organ transplant. Kidneys and Blood are no problems but what about
the heart, liver and lungs. For a person to be certified dead halachically,
his heart must stop unless he has heaven forbid been decapitated. Thus
heart transplants kill halachically the donor for the person needing the
tranplant. Is that person then considered a Rodef? - we spent hours on this
subject. If the heart stops then the lungs, and liver can be donated. Rabbi
Shlomo Goren Z"L ruled that skin could be removed from dead soldiers to
save their burnt comrades.

The Halachot are very complex with the Organ Donations and also there are
two schools of thought about donation vs descreation of the dead

Aside from halachic problems there are others involved. This is a true
case, our doctors here took a terrorist victim and donated his organs to 5
people amoung them 3 Arabs which may not have been the wishes of the
disceased person

As for now, case for case has to be dealt with by Rabbis and under
supervision.

With blessings,
Richard (Rachamim) Pauli