End-of-Life Decisions

Kentucky's Advance Health Care Directives and Organ Donation: A Catholic PerspectiveKentucky’s Advance Health Care Directives and Organ Donation: A Catholic Perspective—Following changes in Kentucky law in 1994, this document was released to inform Catholics of acceptable options in making end-of-life decisions. This newly revised edition (September 2005) provides clarification regarding Catholic teaching on end of life issues. The document includes a form approved for use in the Commonwealth of Kentucky to designate a health care surrogate and to donate organs.

Catholics view organ donation as an act of charity, fraternal love, and self sacrifice. Transplants are ethically and morally acceptable to the Vatican. Ethical and Religious Directive from the Catholic Health Facilities, No.30 states: “The transplantation of organs from living donors is morally permissible when the anticipated benefit to the recipient is proportionate to the harm done to the donor, provided that the loss of such organ(s) does not deprive the donor of life itself nor the integrity of his body.” No. 31: “Post-mortem examinations must not be begun until death is morally certain. Vital organs, that is, organs necessary to sustain life, may not be removed until death has taken place. The determination of the time of death must be made in accordance with current medical practice. To prevent any conflict of interest, the dying patient’s doctor(s) should ordinarily be distinct from the transplant team.”

To donate your organs, do one of the following three things:

Your next-of-kin’s approval will be needed at the time of your death.

 

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