Journal article

Guarding the Public Interest: England's Coroners and Organ Transplants, 1960-1975

Helen MacDonald

JOURNAL OF BRITISH STUDIES | CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS | Published : 2015

Abstract

From the mid-twentieth century, England's coroners were crucial to the supply of organs to transplant, as much of this material was gleaned from the bodies of people who had been involved in accidents. In such situations the law required that a coroner's consent first be obtained lest removing the organs destroy evidence about the cause of the person's death. Surgeons challenged the legal requirement that they seek consent before taking organs, arguing that doing so hampered their quick access to bodies. Some coroners willingly cooperated with surgeons while others refused to do so, coming into conflict with particular transplanters whom they considered untrustworthy. This article examines h..

View full abstract

Grants

Awarded by Australian Research Council


Funding Acknowledgements

Helen MacDonald is senior research fellow at the University of Melbourne. This work was supported by the Australian Research Council (Project No. FT100100762) and has benefited from the questions, comments, and suggestions made by the anonymous readers for the Journal of British Studies. The author expresses gratitude to the archivists and librarians at the National Archives and the British Library in England, and to Caitlin Maher and Dr. Anna MacDonald for their skillful research assistance.