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Animals as source for human organ transplants - Case Study Example

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This procedure is known as xenotransplantation, which has increased over the last few years since it is seen as one way of minimizing human…
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Animals as Source for Human Organ Transplants Scientists have made several attempts of transplanting animal tissues or organs into human beings since the beginning of 20th century. This procedure is known as xenotransplantation, which has increased over the last few years since it is seen as one way of minimizing human organ shortage for transplantation. It is noted that, at present, this shortage to a great extent limits the transplantation potential for treating human disease (Patel and Rushefsky 103). However, the prospects of using tissue and organs from animals for xenotransplantation continue to raise a lot of issue from various squatters both practical and ethical. The issue mainly relates to problems associated with xenotransplantation. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the problems raised and discuss whether the problems raised concern me or not. The paper will also explain the main ethical approach groupings that are most influential in my thinking about the case and the consequences most important to me regarding the case.
Xenotransplantation prospect is associated with public health issues. It is reported that xenotransplantation is capable of transferring some risks to the wider society (Patel and Rushefsky 103). The major concern is that xenotransplantation is capable of transmitting infectious agents, like viruses from animals to human beings. It is noted that retroviruses are the major concerns since there exist several examples of such viruses moving from one species and becoming infectious in another.
It is also noted that retroviruses fails to show signs of the disease at its initial stages (Institute of Medicine 42). Therefore, in case transplant patients become infected with a retrovirus, then the virus would be capable of spreading to the patient’s family, close contacts, carers and the entire population before it can be established that the infection has occurred (McLean and Williamson 43).
The widespread introduction of xenotransplantation has cost implications to the health care system. Opponents of Xenotransplantation argue that the procedure would displace other methods, which are perhaps more worthwhile (McLean and Williamson 43). Therefore, the procedure should not be embraced. Institute of Medicine note that the argument is based on the fact that survival rate for xenograft recipients has been poor (42). As such, early recipients are the one being used as subjects of experiment for this technological development.
Some of the issues raised with regard to the case concern me while others do not. The ones that concern me most are those which touch on human life. Human health is paramount in my view and should not be compromised. Therefore, my other concern pertains to the fact that xenotransplantation is capable of transferring infections to the community. This means that if a patient is treated through a xenotransplantation and happens to get infected in the community then the entire population may end up having the infection. This is an issue of concern and must be looked at before accepting this prospect of xenotransplantation. However, I would not be bothered much about the problem of cost to the health care system as long as the results would bring positive change in the health care system.
My thinking about this case is mainly guided by the consequential ethical approach. This is mainly because the issue touches on human life. Therefore, any procedure that is carried on the human being should lead to a better result for both the patient and the general population. It is, therefore, important that the consequences of xenotransplantation be considered by doing more research on the procedure before it can be embraced to ensure that all the negative consequences are eliminated.
My Important Moral Convictions
Ethical deliberation does not happen in a vacuum but in historical and social context that is changing continuously. In this regard, there are no timeless solutions since ethical debate cannot be separated from the social life domain. Similarly, individual’s moral convictions are not merely pegged in the traditional forces but are the results of mature and sincere reflections.
Work Cited
Institute of Medicine (US). Xenotransplantation: Science, Ethics, and Public Policy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. 1996 Print.
McLean, Sheila & Williamson, Laura. Xenotransplantation: Law and Ethics. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. 2005 Print.
Patel, Kant, & Rushefsky, Mark. Health Care Policy in an Age of New Technologies. New York: M.E Sharpe. 2002 Print. Read More
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