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Looking Back: Transplants In Order

Looking Back to September 1969 and theological reaction to the UK's first heart transplant.


Theologians – including Protestants, Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Evangelicals, Jews and Moslems – agreed recently that human organ transplants were ‘morally licit’ but should be used as a last resort to save a dying patient. They also called for greater certainty that a patient was dead and for an international statute defining death.

With doctors and lawyers, they were attending the first international symposium on transplants held in Madrid.

In Britain, an Advisory Group on Transplantation Problems has recommended that surgeons should have the right to take organs from a dead body for transplant operations unless there are definite indications that the potential donor objected during his life.

This is very much in line with the Deliverance of the Church and Nation Committee to the 1968 General Assembly, which approved in principle “an alteration to the law which, subject to certain safeguards, would allow designated hospital authorities to remove vital organs from a dead body for therapeutic purposes.”

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