Friday, September 11, 2009

Organ allocation and doing justice

Rosemary Flanigan
September 11, 2009

A student is writing an ethics paper on whether or not criminals are eligible for transplants—so let us give her some help. I would suggest that she read the policy and procedures of the transplant network which is in place.

Judging justly, I would deem there would be few—if any—discriminations mentioned—not age, certainly not social worth. I would imagine that the procedures were focused on physical condition and time spent on the waiting list. If she wants to argue scarcity of organs, then how will she argue allocation—and do justice?

I would think the heart of her argument would be found in the materials of the transplant network. Am I wrong???

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Blogger Dave said...

In allocating organs we should discriminate in favor of registered organ donors.

Giving organs first to organ donors will convince more people to register as organ donors. It will also make the organ allocation system fairer. People who aren't willing to share the gift of life should go to the back of the waiting list as long as there is a shortage of organs.

Anyone who wants to donate their organs to others who have agreed to donate theirs can join LifeSharers. LifeSharers is a non-profit network of organ donors who agree to offer their organs first to other organ donors when they die. Membership is free at or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88. There is no age limit, parents can enroll their minor children, and no one is excluded due to any pre-existing medical condition.

Over half of the 102,000 Americans on the national transplant waiting list will die before they get a transplant. Most of these deaths are needless. Americans bury or cremate about 20,000 transplantable organs every year. Over 6,000 of our neighbors suffer and die needlessly every year as a result. This wouldn't happen if organs were allocated first to registered organ donors.

Sunday, September 13, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are correct. She needs to check with policies in UNOS that organ transplant centers follow. Potential donors cannot be descriminated against based on social status, including being imprisoned.
It can be difficult to think about transplanting prisoners because it seems they have not complied with the laws of society. But, they are guaranteed medical care, and organ transplantation is medical care.

As for Dave's arugment, should we not transplant children if their parents haven't signed them up as organ donors? That seems rather harsh.

I think the organ allocation system is quite fair, with the resources available.

Friday, September 18, 2009  

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