Organ Transplantation - Personal Statement Example

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Organ transplantation: the legal and ethical issues in presumed consent Name Institutional affiliation Tutor Date Organ Transplantation: the Legal and Ethical Issues in Presumed Consent Organ transplantation involves the removal of internal organs from one person, and the transfer of those organs to another person whose organs are failing…
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Download file to see previous pages Rithalia et al. (2009) state that in the UK most cases involving alive donors are reported in the donation of kidneys. Most of the other organs come from deceased people. Despite the benefits of organs’ transplantations, this procedure has its share of limitations. For example, as Voo, Campbell, & De Castro (2009) state, the organs available for transplants are usually in short supply, yet the number of people in need of transplants is ever increasing. This translates into a long waiting list, while demand continues to grow and more people die from organ failure. As Lawson (2008) states, the problem with the current healthcare setting is that organ transplantations rely so much on informed consent that many unnecessary deaths are occurring, yet good organs, which can be used to save people’s lives, are being buried and cremated. Presumed Consent during Organ Transplantation To increase the supply of organs, medical practitioners have been forced to use various means to obtain organs. As Voo, Campbell, & De Castro (2009) state, the conventional method is “opt-in”, in which a person voluntarily donates his/her organs to needy patients. Using this method, the donor should authorize the removal of organs after his/her death, by, for example, carrying a donor card, or being a member of the national registry (Price, 2000). However, since these donations still do not meet the growing demand, practitioners tend to use the “presumed consent” method. According to Liddy (2000), presumed consent assumes that everyone wishes to donate their organs after death, unless the person has “opted out” of the system. This is despite the absence of a clear indication that the individual donating the organs have given their consent for the procurement process. According to Lawson (2009), the presumed consent system allows for organ procurement after the death of a person, unless the deceased had objected to this procedure before their death. This scenario, according to Voo, Campbell, & De Castro (2009) creates an “ethical crisis”, where critics argue that the deceased may not have known the laws governing organ donations, and would not have, therefore, objected. Legal and Ethical Issues Affecting Presumed Consent during Organ Transplantation On legality grounds, Ammann (2010) writes that from a legal standpoint, every adult of sound mind should have the ability to make decisions concerning any actions towards one own body. It is, therefore, argued that the presumed consent model violates free and informed decision making; thus, undermining personal autonomy. In addition, some critics argue that presumed consent is not legal since it assumes that every person who does not opt-out of the system wishes to donate their organs after death. This, however, is not the case, considering that majority of people are ignorant about such an option and may, therefore, be unwilling to donate, yet fail to opt-out. As a result of not opting-out, such people may end up donating organs even though they never intended to become donors (Liddy, 2000). Presumed consent can either be “hard opt-out” or “soft opt-out” depending on the available legislations, as well as ethical considerations (Ammann, 2010). The hard system does not consult the family, while the soft one considers the wishes of the family before starting on the organ procurement proces ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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