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Distributive Justice Cutting in line for Organ Transplants The case of Todd Krampitz begs the application of ethical concern in matters of organ donation. Todd Krampitz was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2004. The cancer had already spread throughout his body when he was diagnosed therefore his disease was rendered incurable; the only way out seemed to be a liver transplant…
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Download file to see previous pages... After pulling some strings, his family was able to arrange a liver for Krampitz. The donor heard about the need of his liver through the media campaign launched by Krampitz’s family. However, a liver transplant only bought Krampitz another eight months. Doctors had already foretold that due to the aggressive nature of cancer, the disease will not be cured even after a transplant. At the time Krampitz got a donor, there were 16000 other better suited candidates on the UNOS wait list. Krampitz was able to jump this queue of 16000, better suited candidates because of his publicity stunt. The question is, was it ethically correct for Krampitz to jump ahead of so many people only because he could? This publicity stunt may have found a donor who would not have been found otherwise but the ethical dilemma of distribution of organs is still there. This dilemma when viewed under Distributive justice can provide a better understanding and analysis of situations such as the one mentioned above. What Krampitz did is legal, technically speaking he never breached any law (Delvoye, 2004). It all boils down to the matter of ethics, how well Krampitz’s case weighs on the moral scale? Distributive justice pertains to ‘fair’ distribution of economic resources among widespread community (Maiese, 2003). This distribution revolves around three factors, number or resources, the procedure and the pattern of distribution (Maiese, 2003). Distributive justice applies to organ donation because there are simply not enough for everyone (Center for Bioethics, 2004). Going back to Krampitz’s case, the procedure, pattern as well as the number of resources (healthy livers available for transplant) all seem to be against Krampitz. What Krampitz did is a violation of ethics, knowing that he was dead anyway, regardless of the transplant. Still he jumped ahead of 1600 people and got himself a healthy liver. Critically speaking, for his own survival he had to take every chance to save himself which is not wrong. But when you’re a citizen, you are part of the social fabric, people are knitted together to keep the society strong. Otherwise, the law of ‘survival of the fittest’ prevails and that means chaos. The matter of distributive justice in healthcare is not a matter of consequential theory. It is not about creating an equitable society; it is about what is in the best interest (mutual interest) of everybody. The idea of Distributive Justice arises in cases of organ donation because there is a wide gap between the supply and demand of human organs. Human organs for transplantation purposes are very scarce. This shortage begs a more just distribution of organs. Distributive justice aims to provide a fair distribution of scarce resources such as human organs. The distributive justice theory employs various criteria to judge and rightfully prefer one individual over another in matters of organ distribution. The theory measures the overall utility of choosing the recipient of an organ. There is another side to this story, the supporters of Krampitz’s case. They say that the media campaign launched by Krampitz found a person who with his own will agreed to donate the liver, therefore adding another donor to the pool of donors. Had this person not reached by Krampitz’s family, he would have chosen not donate at all. This makes the case very strong for Krampitz. Krampitz identified ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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