Highlights From JACC | Opioid Epidemic and Heart Transplantation: A Trainee's View

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All health care professionals — regardless of specialty or degree — may need to more actively acknowledge the growing opioid epidemic and its impact on organ donation, according to a Fellows in Training/Early Career column published July 2 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Jason J. Han, MD, describes one of the most “complex ethical challenges in the current era of cardiac surgery” as he continues to come upon donors who have died from opioid overdose. He also addresses the importance of focusing on the larger and more philosophical questions to ignite conversations such as the role of the transplant community amid the opioid epidemic, immediate goals, and responsibility to help address the greater social issue.

In a response to the column, Alexandra K. Glazier, JD, MPH, comments that “in organ donation and transplant, every tragic death is framed as an opportunity to give life.” She adds, “Honoring those who have died in the grip of the opioid epidemic by maximizing the benefit for those who may live through transplantation is not an ethical conundrum, but rather a solemn responsibility.” Read more.