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Organ Donation Ethics Essay Samples

Ethical Issues In Organ Transplantation Essay

Organ transplantation has been recognized as one of the biggest medical advances of the century as it provides a way of donating organs from deceased or living individuals to the patients with terminal failure of vital organs. Advances in medical technology and science have made transfer of organs and tissue a very important issue. The increasing incidence of vital organ failure and the inadequate supply of organs, especially from cadavers, has created a wide gap between organ supply and organ demand, which has resulted in very long waiting times to receive an organ as well as an increasing number of deaths while waiting (Caplan, 1998). These events have raised many ethical, moral and societal issues regarding supply and organ allocation, xenotransplantation, the risks and benefits of organ donation from living donors, the issues dealing with organ donation from the deceased, and the duties and responsibilities of the medical profession and society to help those who need help.

The shortage of human organs is causing on of the biggest ethical issues in organ transplantation. Even though, transplantation centers would like to transplant all patients who need new the organs, unfortunately, there are not enough living or cadaver donors available to help as many patients as need it. It has also led to the practice of organ sale by entrepreneurs for financial gains in some parts of the world through exploitation of the poor, for the benefit of the wealthy (Pattinson, 2003). In general, in US recipients of organs are chosen from a waiting list after they have been medically determined to be qualified candidate. All potential patients for organ transplant surgery have to be evaluated and tested to be qualified. Organ allocation aims for a satisfactory outcome measured by patient survival and quality of life. Moreover, allocation considers patients waiting time available before transplant take place.

Ethical evaluation criteria include the justice, utility, and beneficence principles. The United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) policy attempts to balance these principles. Further, this policy does not recommend restrictions based on age or disease. Two fundamental principles of organ allocation separate the transplant community. First principle described by Arthur Caplan suggests that in order to maximize efficiency, organ transplant would need to favor those recipients for whom a transplant will guarantee the highest chance of living a long and high quality life. The second principle is urgency of need, which would favor allocating organs to those who are the sickest and most likely to die. These principles represent ethical positions but at the same time lead to different consequences in terms of who would live in the end (Caplan, 1998).

The principle of non-malfeasance is at...

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Essay about Organ Transplantation and Ethical Considerations

2773 Words12 Pages

Organ Transplantation and Ethical Considerations

In February 2003, 17-year-old Jesica Santillan received a heart-lung transplant at Duke University Hospital that went badly awry because, by mistake, doctors used donor organs from a patient with a different blood type. The botched operation and subsequent unsuccessful retransplant opened a discussion in the media, in internet chat rooms, and in ethicists' circles regarding how we, in the United States, allocate the scarce commodity of organs for transplant. How do we go about allocating a future for people who will die without a transplant? How do we go about denying it? When so many are waiting for their shot at a life worth living, is it fair to grant multiple organs or multiple…show more content…

First, let's address equality as it applies to justice. All other things being equal, who holds a claim to the organs available for transplant in the United States—just citizens, or illegal immigrants, too? A recent Chicago news source cited the tragedy of "American taxpayers and their children who died last year waiting for the transplant that Duke University Hospital chose to give to a citizen of a foreign nation" (Bailey, 2). This article went on to state that our system "rewards illegal aliens for entering the United States to access our health care system, thus condemning some of the American taxpayers who pay for that system to premature deaths. Few could deny the sheer unfairness of such a situation" (Bailey, 2). But how true are these statements? Are organs allocated in a way that promotes inequality for American citizens? An ethicist's first responsibility is to look at the facts, and the facts in this instance tell a different story.

According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), American citizens are more likely to receive organs of non-citizens than vice versa; "As a percentage, every year, U.S. citizens receive more organs than they donate" (Vedantam, 2). Also, UNOS limits the number of transplants allotted to non-citizens to no more than five percent of available organs; however, no limits on donations are made (Vedantam, 2). These facts indicate that Americans are benefiting from the organ donations of

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