Doctors remove organs of brain-dead boy
Doctors at Toyama University Hospital on Friday extracted the organs of a boy under the age of six who was declared brain dead for the first time in Japan.
The boy’s heart, liver, kidneys and pancreas will be donated to recipients, Fuji TV reported.
The boy was declared dead at 2:11 p.m. on Thursday. A spokesperson for the boy’s parents said that their son was a very energetic boy and even though he had left them, they hoped that the recipients of his organs would be able to have a long life, Fuji TV reported.
Organ transplants for children in Japan have lagged behind other countries due to the 1997 Organ Transplant Law, which only allowed donation in the case of brain death and with prior written consent, as well as the consent of the donor’s family. However, in 2010, under urging from the Japan Organ Transplant Network, the law was revised, lowering the age restriction.
But opponents say it is very risky declaring a child brain dead, arguing that tougher criteria are needed because children’s brains have stronger powers of recovery. In the Toyama case, doctors said they conducted tests of the boy’s brain waves twice over a 24-hour period and found no activity. The boy was also unable to breathe unassisted, doctors were quoted as saying.