Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Kidneys for transplant

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 11 May 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:1105

Rapid Response:

Kidneys for transplant : NOT from the "brain dead", please

Editor - It is sad to see the term "brain dead" still being used (1)
to describe the state of comatose, ventilator-dependent patients certified
dead for transplant purposes. Use of that term was formally discouraged by
the RCP Working Party and Conference of Medical Royal Colleges (2) in
1995, the term "brain stem death" being preferred although not factually
correct (3), and the Minister of State for Health declared (4), in 1997,
that "the term 'brain death' ..... should not be used in the context of
organ donation".

1. Geddes CC, Rodger RSC. Kidneys for transplant : more of them,
better allocated. BMJ 2006;0:bmj.38833.785984.47v1

2. Review by Working Group of the Royal College of Physicians,
endorsed by the Conference of Medical Royal Colleges and their Faculties.
Criteria for the diagnosis of brain stem death. J Roy Coll Physns London

3. Evans DW. The demise of "brain death" in Britain. In - Beyond
brain death : the case against brain based criteria for human death. Eds :
Potts M, Byrne PA, Nilges RG. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, 2000

4. Milburn A. Personal correspondence, 7th September 1997

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

01 May 2006
David W Evans
Retired physician
27 Gough Way, Cambridge, CB3 9LN