Over the past 15 months, news on the bioethics front has been heating up as the long-standing practice of the “dead donor rule” (DDR) has been increasingly challenged by prominent medical ethicists. Up until recently, best practice in the medical industry has demanded that a donor patient be declared legally dead before doctors can begin to harvest any organs from his or her body. But as the numbers of patients on transplant waiting lists continues to swell, doctors are beginning to reconsider their traditional stances and new ethical frontiers are being broached.
In January of 2012, the highly regarded Journal of Medical Ethics published a paper by professors Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (Duke University) and Franklin Miller (National Institute of Health). According to the abstract:
”What makes an act of killing morally wrong is not that the act causes loss of life or consciousness, but rather that the act causes loss of all remaining abilities.” 
In other words, these men are trying to argue that if no useful abilities remain in the patient on the edge of death, doctors should be allowed to begin harvesting the patient’s organs as soon as the heart has stopped, even if efforts to revitalize the patient have not be performed.
Now, in the most recent issue of Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, Walter Glannon, Research Chair in Medical Bioethics and Ethical Theory at the University of Calgary, has entered the fray by arguing as follows:
“It is not the timing or declaration of death that matters morally in this type of organ donation … This position rejects the conviction that whether donors are harmed depends upon when death is declared and that procuring organs before this declaration always harms them.”
What Glannon is arguing here is that there might be cases where the patient could regain consciousness or even cases where it is unsure as to whether the patient will certainly die “where it still might be permissible to harvest the organs.” 
What do you think? If a patient is on the edge of death, but has not yet passed away, might it be permissible to begin harvesting organs, particularly when seconds count as to the viability of the organ in question?