NYC Plans Organ-Recovery Ambulance

Proposal for quick harvesting raises thorny questions
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 24, 2008 10:45 AM CDT
Victims of an early morning bus crash sit in the back of an ambulance Monday, June 25, 2007.   (AP Photo/Daily News, Joe Imel)
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(Newser) – New York City is planning a “rapid-organ-recovery ambulance” that would collect the bodies of victims of sudden deaths to be used for organ transplants, hoping to ease a pressing need for donors, the Washington Post reports. But the idea has sparked controversy among health and bioethics experts, concerned over what it might mean for the role of emergency health care.

“People are going to worry when the ambulance comes whether they are there to care for them or to take their organs,” said one expert. But supporters say the plan, which would employ a distinct ambulance, is subject to ethical approval from experts and locals. “We have to make sure people understand our job is to save lives, and we're not going to do anything to compromise that,” says a leading proponent.