Most medical institutions designated to remove organs from brain-dead donors have declared they are ready to do so in the three months since a controversial law went into effect to allow such transplants from brain-dead patients.A large number of such facilities have completed manuals for carrying out the organ removals, acquired the proper approval and created the required systems to deal with the delicate task of determining brain death.But despite their readiness, the hospitals found that none of the roughly 400 patients who became brain dead at their facilities since the law took effect in October had previously consented to be organ donors, according to a Kyodo News survey released Thursday.The survey, conducted from late December to early January, covered 96 medical facilities designated for organ harvesting. Officials at 70 of these facilities said they are prepared to perform organ removal.One-third of the 96 facilities had no patients declared brain dead during the three-month period. One facility, however, had about 30 brain-dead patients. Outside the 96 facilities, one brain-dead patient at a private hospital in Kawasaki was found to be carrying a donor card.There were also six cases in which the families of brain-dead patients agreed to donate the patients’ organs, although no prior consent had been given. Another patient had expressed verbal consent to donate his organs before he became brain dead. The 96 facilities surveyed are either university hospitals or hospitals designated by the Japanese Association for Acute Medicine. Seventy-five of the facilities have already received the required approval of ethics committees, and 81 facilities have already created systems, as required by law, to determine whether a patient is brain dead.More than half of the 96 facilities have completed manuals for the removal and provision of organs from brain-dead patients. Officials at most of the 96 facilities said their designation as facilities for organ removal has had no impact on their daily medical activities.An official at one of the institutions, however, said it is difficult for doctors to ask family members about whether a patient carries a donor card because of the psychological impact. Another official said doctors are trying to ensure that patients and their families do not feel that the hospital’s designation for organ removals prevents them from doing their best to save the lives of patients.

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