Being Sherlock Holmes: The Internet as a tool for assessing live organ donors
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AbstractDonor advocacy is a critical feature of live donor transplantation. Donor Advocates and Donor Advocate Teams (DAT) are now routine to the practice of live donor evaluation in the USA. Multidisciplinary in nature, DATs gather both medical and psychosocial information about potential live organ donors and then render a decision as to whether or not these individuals are suitable to participate. Because of the critical ethical and psychosocial concerns about live donation, thorough donor evaluations are essential. Additionally, the information gathered must be accurate, and this requires honest disclosure by the donor candidate. In this paper, we describe how DATs can use various forms of free, public content available on the Internet to aid live donor assessments. In this way, the DAT assumes somewhat of an investigative role; however, this is ethically justified in light of the DAT duty to protect the donor. The protective effect can also spread to the transplant program, in general, when inappropriate donors are excluded from the donation process.