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Ehtical Issues in Healthcare: Organ Allocation - Essay Example

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Ethical Issues in Healthcare: Organ allocation LaWanda Holmes HCS/545 April 30, 2012 Instructor: Louise Underdahl Ethical Issues in Healthcare The concept of ethics comes into much focus in the present medical fraternity. In organ transplant, the basic ethical dilemma normally arises from the shortage of the available organs and this creates a very critical case almost more profound than often realized…
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Download file to see previous pages The number of organs donated has stayed constant for a long time while the number of people in need of such organs has subsequently increased over the years. In this regard, the ethical challenge arises with regard to the distribution of these few organs amongst the thousands of people who need them. This is the concept of distributive justice which connotes the process of fairly distributing the little resources amongst the massive numbers (Aiken 2009). According to the distributive justice theory, there is certainly no right methodology that can be used in distributing the organs but it would often be a variable affair depending on the matter at hand. Several reasons would therefore justify a person giving an organ to one person and not the other. However, the basic argument in this concept is the need for equal access of everybody to the organs. In the context of this distribution, several arguments abound. The aspect of social worthiness biases comes in as a challenge in this respect. For instance how does it justify allocating an organ to a patient whose organ had been damaged through smoking or drinking over one who lost their organ through an accident ( Gowers & Wheat 2005). The social worthiness of a patient is therefore emerging as a considerable factor of consideration in the allocation of the organs. In the same regard, another dilemma arises with regard to who should actually make the decision on who should first get an organ. Another aspect of the distributive justice concerns the criteria of maximum benefit. The goal of this criterion is basically the allocation of the transplant on such aspects as medical need and probability of the success of the transplant. In this view, the sickest people and those who are likely to stay longest after the transplant are given the first priority in the allocation of the organs. The core essence of the ethical benefit view is the fact that organs are very scarce and valuable and should therefore never be wasted. In this regard, the basic concern in the ranking of people for the transplant process is conducted on the basis of the likeliness of success of the process or a longer life for the patient. Similarly, the ethical principle of autonomy comes into much focus in this respect. While the allocation process demands that decisions are made with respect to other people, autonomy seems to be ignored in the process. Therefore, the allocation of organs has to be done in a way that gives the patient the autonomy the make their own decisions regarding their health. All these dilemmas create challenges in the allocation process. In the face of these realizations, the policy makers in this regard are faced with the challenge of beneficence. In this regard, in the face of instituting modalities for the allocation process, it becomes important to ensure that harm and evil is not practiced in the process. Beneficence must be at the heart o the whole process. On the other hand, medical personnel are further compelled to address aspects of nonmaleficence. In this case, the process of organ transplant should not be conducted in case the harms or risks out way the benefits to be realized. It therefore creates a challenge in the allocation of the few organs available. Without doubt, it appears quite inappropriate to deny a person an organ on the premise of the risks ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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