The Ethical Issue Surrounding Organ Transplantation

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Title: The Ethical Issues Surrounding Organ Transplantation

Abstract
With organ transplants so prevalent in today’s society, it is important that the ethical issues surrounding them are fully understood. While many people want to see life extended as long as possible, there are others who believe life must be allowed to run its natural course. This literature review examines the process of organ transplantation from continuous shortages of available organs to the distribution process to the lasting effects of the transplant on the patient. The research showed that even as policies and procedures adapt to our evolving society, it is very likely there will always be disagreement on the subject of organ transplantation.

Introduction

Beginning with the first organ transplants in the 1950’s; questions have risen regarding the ethics of these life-changing procedures. During the years since, society has debated the issues surrounding organ transplants. With the creation of regulations regarding organ procurement and the development of transplant waiting lists, it is obvious that an increasing number of people have had their lives effected by this medical advancement. That being said, the importance of educating people on the facts of transplantation is greater than it has ever been. This literature review considers the use of personal ethics in the decision making process as it relates to organ transplantation by responding to the following questions: 1. How do we deal with the shortage of donated organs?

2. What is the distribution process for the organs?
3. What are the effects of organ transplantation’s on the patient?

Summary and Conclusion

While data showed that organ transplantation’s continue to increase every year, there are still many thing society can do to close the gap between the amount of patients on the recipient waiting lists and available donor organs. It is evident that procedures need to be simplified, younger generations need to be better educated, and we must develop an ethical system of implementing a foolproof presumed consent system. Concentration on these issues would also reduce the need of using marginal and high-risk donors. This would improve the survival rates to an even better percentage than we are experiencing now. On the other hand, how will an increase in transplantation effect health insurance? As more recipients live longer, there will be a greater chance of additionally needed medical treatment that could inflate costs. All in all, the medical profession is committed to extending life with regards to quality of life. Most transplantation operations give patients an opportunity to return to a relatively normal life. From an ethical standpoint, everyone must make their own decision on organ transplantation and not let public opinion sway their decision-making process. It is also the responsibility of each individual to relay their decision to friends and family. Then when the time comes to make such a meaningful decision, there will be no doubt about the prospective donor’s wishes.

Ethical Issues Surrounding Organ Transplantation i

The Ethical Issues Surrounding Organ Transplantation

A Review of the Literature

Andrew Ford
Medical Ethics 1103
Professor Carl Benanti, Ph.D.
November 29, 2009

Ethical Issues Surrounding Organ Transplantation ii

Abstract

With organ transplants so prevalent in today’s society, it is important that the ethical issues surrounding them are fully understood. While many people want to see life extended as long as possible, there are others who still believe life must be allowed to run its natural course. This literature review examines the decision making process of organ transplantation from continuous shortages of available organs to the process of distributing organs to the lasting effects of the transplant on the patient. The research showed that focused efforts on...
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