Liver Transplant for Intentional Acetaminophen Overdose and Hepatic Encephalopathy: a Conflict Between Beneficence and Justice

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Abstract

In cases of severe acetaminophen-induced acute liver failure and hepatic encephalopathy, liver transplant can be the only real hope for neurologic recovery and indeed survival. In such cases, the bioethical principles of beneficence and justice often come into conflict. This article examines a case in which a neurologist managing an acetaminophen-overdose patient in the neurologic intensive care unit is faced with a conflict between her patient’s need for a liver transplant and the needs of other patients on the transplant list.

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