Abstract The House of Delegates of the American Medical Association adopted the report of its Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs concerning financial incentives for organ procurement.1 I have recently reviewed this subject from the point of view of Jewish law.2 Most rabbinic rulings state that financial compensation for organ donation is permissible. However, a cadaver organ must not be withheld by the family because remuneration is refused or unavailable. The family has no "property rights" or estate rights to the body of their relative. It is forbidden in Judaism to let someone die because one receives no payment to save him or her. On the contrary, one must expend one's own money, if necessary, to save a life. The Talmud clearly states, "He who saves a life is as if he saved a whole world."3 References 1. Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, American Medical Association. Financial incentives for organ procurement: ethical aspects of future contracts for cadaveric donors. Arch Intern Med . 1995;155:581-589.Crossref 2. Rosner F. Compensating organ donors and Jewish law. Mt Sinai J Med . 1995; 62:167-170. 3. Tractate Sanhedrin, folio 37a.
Archives of Internal Medicine – American Medical Association
Published: Sep 25, 1995