HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky this week met with a senior member of Israel’s medical community, the director-general of Beilinson Hospital, Dr. Eren Halprin, who questioned the gadol hador regarding donor organs. The Rav told the senior physician that time of death may only be determined when one’s heart ceases to function, without any connection whatsoever to brain activity.
According to the report, the rav stressed that brain activity is never a determining factor regarding death and therefore, donor organs from such a person, whose death was declared based on the lack of brain activity, are forbidden.
The doctor wished to understand, to clarify, asking how it is possible that it is forbidden to donate an organ while it is permissible to accept one.
The Rav clarified, stating that if donor organs are harvested from people declared dead based on brain death alone, and their hearts are still functioning, their organs are forbidden [for transplants]. That is to say, they may not be declared ‘dead’. Therefore, doctors may not view them as viable transplant donors for as long as their hearts continue functioning. The donor may not give them and recipients may not receive them, even with the knowledge that a Jewish life will be saved as a result. The two then discussed a number of other halachic matters.
It is important that readers are aware this is not to be viewed as a p’sak halacha and in such matters, one is to consult a posek.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)