Brendan Parent, JD, is director of transplant ethics and policy research, and assistant professor of bioethics in the division of medical ethics with joint appointment in surgery at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. He is PI on nonprofit and government funded grants studying ethics and regulation of transplant research. Parent serves as an independent living donor advocate, an advisory board member for the National Kidney Foundation, and a member of the national donation leadership council for The Alliance. He provides ethics consultation for transplant programs across the United States. Parent’s current work also focuses on ethics of determination of death by neurologic criteria, crisis resource allocation, and big data and artificial intelligence in health research. He has published academic articles in peer reviewed journals spanning law, medicine, science, sports, and ethics, and his work has been featured in the Washington Post, The NY Times, Wired, Chicago Tribune, The Guardian, and on NPR. Previously, he was a legal fellow for the New York Task Force on Life and the Law, the first Rudin Post-Doc in the NYU Division of Medical Ethics, and received his JD from Georgetown University Law Center.
Understanding the UDDA: A Review of the Legal Standard of Death Determination
The Uniform Determination of Death Act, (“UDDA”) which is currently the law in most states holds that in order to be determined deceased an individual must present irreversible cession of cardiorespiratory function or irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem. However, inconsistencies identified between the clinical protocols to declare brain death and the legal wording has led to discussions suggesting that action should be taken to revise and clarify the legal standard of death determination. Given that most deceased donations result from patients declared dead by neurologic criteria, this ongoing deliberation is important to the donation and transplantation community, and other constituents in the continuum of care, including patients. For this discussion, we will be joined by Christina Strong, JD. and Brendan Parent, JD who will provide further information about the proposals being made to help us better understand the rationale behind these changes from the legal and ethical perspective.