The actual costs of non-heart-beating donation are difficult to assess. Patient care costs must be factored in and compared to the costs of maintaining donors after death by neurological criteria. The costs of the education, outreach, and staff time required for the more complex donation process must be assessed. In addition, the costs of higher rates of organ discard and delayed organ function following transplantation must be factored in (Elwell et al., 1997). Cost considerations are a potential impediment to participation in non-heart-beating organ recovery. A sound empirical study of the costs of non-heart-beating organ recovery is urgently needed.
The findings from this study and the workshop highlight the need for further research on many aspects of non-heart-beating organ and tissue donation. Chapter 6 discusses a research agenda and presents a paper commissioned by the committee. It identifies research priorities and suggests methodological approaches for research that addresses these priorities.