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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 35-45

Do not resuscitate, brain death, and organ transplantation: Islamic perspective


1 Department of Cardiology, King Fahd Armed Forces Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Medical Ethics, International Medical Center, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Hassan Chamsi-Pasha
Department of Cardiology, King Fahd Armed Forces Hospital, P.O. Box. 9862, Jeddah 21159
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2231-0770.203608

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Muslim patients and families are often reluctant to discuss and accept fatal diagnoses and prognoses. In many instances, aggressive therapy is requested by a patient's family, prolonging the life of the patient at all costs. Islamic law permits the withdrawal of futile treatment, including life support, from terminally ill patients allowing death to take its natural course. “Do not resuscitate” is permitted in Islamic law in certain situations. Debate continues about the certainty of brain death criteria within Islamic scholars. Although brain death is accepted as true death by the majority of Muslim scholars and medical organizations, the consensus in the Muslim world is not unanimous, and some scholars still accept death only by cardiopulmonary criteria. Organ transplantation has been accepted in Islamic countries (with some resistance from some jurists). Many fatwas (decrees) of Islamic Jurisprudence Councils have been issued and allowed organs to be donated from living competent adult donor; and from deceased (cadavers), provided that they have agreed to donate or their families have agreed to donate after their death (usually these are brain-dead cases). A clear and well-defined policy from the ministry of health regarding do not resuscitate, brain death, and other end-of-life issues is urgently needed for all hospitals and health providers in most (if not all) Muslim and Arab countries.


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