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People of all ages and background can be organ donors.
At the same time, there was a growing desire to make organs available for transplantation and to avoid ischemic damage to those organs.
If some patients receiving intensive care already were dead and it was permissible to stop life-sustaining measures such as mechanical ventilation, some thought it might be permissible to remove their organs while their bodies were being maintained with intensive care measures.
If those patients already were dead before treatment is stopped, then it would be appropriate to stop mechanical interventions and other support.
The patients would not die because treatment was withheld.
Much less common have been efforts to successfully transplant animal organs into humans.
Bioengineered organs might change transplantation in the future.
One is the use of cardiorespiratory criteria and the other is the use of neurological criteria (Beecher 1968).
Laws incorporating this second way of determining death were adopted over time in many developed nations, though cultural acceptance and understanding of brain death often has not tracked the law (Wijdicks 2002; Du Bois and Anderson 2006).
Organ donation takes healthy organs and tissues from one person for transplantation into another.
Experts say that the organs from one donor can save or help as many as 50 people.