Presumed Consent

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Organ Donation and Presumed Consent
In the science of medicine, research has produced amazing medical advances such as organ transplantation which raise major ethical issues. Transplants give hope to patients whose organs are failing; they often feel that they are getting a second chance at life. Doctors and medical professionals continue to do the best they can with the resources given to them, however when comparing the number of registered donors to the number of patients waiting for organs, there is an extreme shortage. In response to this shortage, lawmakers and medical professionals have proposed a new law being introduced as presumed consent. This policy has the potential to substantially increase the number of organs available and save lives.

The current policy in place requires citizens to indicate their wishes to donate in advance, if sufficient proof of the deceased wishes cannot be provided, the next of kin has the power to decide. Presumed consent would allow doctors to use organs from someone who is pronounced dead at the hospital without express consent from the next of kin. If a family member is present, they can override this decision. Anyone who did not want to be a donor would simply be required to “opt out” of the registry in advance, and their wishes would be honored. The policy does not take away any rights of donors. The central idea of organ donation would remain the same. The choice is still with the people, only the policy would require people to opt-out rather than requiring them to opt-in. This change in the default system would make organs more readily available for people who need them, since that number is growing exponentially.

Currently, the number of registers organ donors cannot even begin to address the number of patients waiting to receive them. In fact “More than 10 Americans die each day while awaiting organ transplantation”(Fentiman, 30). The need for organs is growing, while the number of donors stays, relatively,...
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