Healthcare Ethics: Organ Transplantation
As technology becomes increasingly part of the medical field, health care professionals are currently tasked with scrutinizing ethical dilemmas. Over the years, there have been growing concerns over organ transplantation in modern medicine, particularly when it comes to organ tourism where individuals have been restricted to traveling to other nations to undergo organ surgery. The process of organ transplantation cannot be underestimated primarily because it prolongs a patient’s life after vital organs fail. The ethical query surrounding these issues is complicated, particularly if organ donation should continue to be voluntary particularly for the dead or dying.
Organ donors usually die at donation; however, because of legal and medical issues, they may be only brain dead when the organs needed are viable. Brain death considered a consequence of severe, irreversible brain damage to the point the organ fails to maintain life (Erin & Harris, 2015). Nevertheless, important bodily functions may be maintained by artificial systems that should be harvested to help others avoid death. As indicated by Chambers, et al. (2018), the growing incidence of primary organ failures such as liver, lungs, and kidney has led to a growing gap between organ supply and demand. Subsequently, this results in longer waiting times before surgery that often results in death. With this in mind, the donation of organs from brain dead individuals should not be voluntary. The process makes it simple for health care management to find organs for their patients.
Several individuals have found the waiting process for an organ transplant tedious and risky. Such waiting times may be significantly reduced when organs can be harvested from brain dead individuals. Although this may seem unethical, it should be considered that the main purpose of a healthcare unit is to reduce deaths and this is one of the solutions to that objective.
Chambers, D. C., Cherikh, W. S., Goldfarb, S. B., Hayes, D., Kucheryavaya, A. Y., Toll, A. E., … & Stehlik, J. (2018). The International Thoracic Organ Transplant Registry of the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation: thirty-fifth adult lung and heart-lung transplant report—2018; focus theme: multiorgan transplantation. The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation, 37(10), 1169-1183.
Erin, C. A., & Harris, J. (2015). An ethical market in human organs. Journal of Medical Ethics, 29(3), 137-138.