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Bioethics Policy Advocacy Memo Term Paper

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Updated: Apr 15th, 2022

Introduction

Commerce plays a significant role in our day-to-day life. We are constantly in trade amongst ourselves and with the corporation for food, clothing, accessories, and cosmetics among various things. All these in a bid make us better and more comfortable (Lewis, Tamparo, and Tatro 2012). For the last three decades, this has expanded to the trade and commercialization of human body parts. An especially tricky area that has spurred the debate between non-malfeasance and beneficence, one having to not harm and the other the moral obligation to do what is right. It is indeed interesting as it engages all stakeholders in the dilemma (Anton, Silberglitt, and Schneider 2012). This memo discusses policies advocating proper bioethics.

Opinion

I chose this method because I’m a firm believer in individual rights freedoms and liberties. For this reason, I believe that I may not always agree with the opinion of another person. Nevertheless, for the simple reason that they have the right and freedom to express themselves, they should under no circumstance remain victimized, or their rights undermined. For this reason, if a person wishes to have their organs harvested they should be allowed to do so, and if they don’t wish the same, their wishes should be respected at all costs.

Statement of the Problem

The government has the moral obligation to ensure human dignity and at the same time, it is struggling with the implementation of a person’s democratic right to freedom and liberty. In the current capitalistic setup, engaging in business for profit is good since there are willing buyers and sellers (Lewis, Tamparo, and Tatro 2012). Medical practitioners are also facing the same dilemma between ethics and moral duty. The patients on the other hand also are confronting the same dilemma and to them, it’s probably worse as they are the ones the worst affected by this debate both directly and indirectly.

Literature review

The commercialization of body parts is now a booming trade that covers all areas of the globe. Body parts get commercialized for cosmetic value and health purposes (Finegold 2005). The countries where most of this takes place are Brazil, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Venezuela amongst others. It should be noted that the practice is a worldwide affair; all countries participate in this relationship on some level. The moral and ethical debates have played a big role in shaping the environment in which this business takes place. Due to legislation some of these transplants are limited to specific locations and conditions under which they happen. (Lewis, Tamparo and Tatro 2012).

Cosmetic surgeries are those performed to enhance the appearance of a person. Major examples of this cosmetic surgery include making physical enhancements through injections, using silicone implants –Botox and also using transplant of body parts. It is mostly illegal in most countries due to health regulations and legal requirements that deem these transplants as unfit as they are risky, and most of them are unsanctioned thus exposing the patients to unforeseen health risks. When performed for cosmetic purposes, the practice of surgery and especially transplant surgery has come to be viewed adversely (Anton, Silberglitt, and Schneider 2012).

Uproar follows from churches and other religious organizations that consider the alterations of the human physical form as blasphemy. The other type of transplants is that which get warranted by a prevailing health condition or deemed necessary by a physician to save a person’s life. It becomes required for the well-being of the patient. These include procedures such as kidney transplants, liver transplants amongst others that a patient’s life may be dependent on (Steinbock, Arras, and London 2009).

The mandate for this type of surgery is overwhelming as there are various patents and candidates for the different transplants. Waiting lists of certain types of surgeries go as far as three years. It forces the patient to risk underground operations in third-world countries or countries whose restrictions of the transplant are not that restrictive or limiting. Therefore, it presents a lot of health and safety risks to the patient who has been forced out of desperation from the prevailing health condition to resort to the surgeries (Steinbock, Arras and London 2009). They may end up being given defective body parts that cause more dire effects or might not get adequate care during operations providing bigger problems to the patient. The entire backdoor transplant is made possible by the presence of a black market for body parts. This black market provides an adequate supply of fresh body parts, and the commodities in this market include kidneys, hearts, livers skin, blood, and hormones amongst others (Anton, Silberglitt, and Schneider 2012).

Comparison and contrasting issues

Considering the commodity being in demand from this transplant is often obtained using questionable tactics. Such tactics include organ harvesting, organ theft, coercion, donations, and gifting, voluntary transplants, and barter trading parts (Finegold 2005). In a sense, this sums up the modern organ procurement transactions. Some get obtained for research in science and medicine. The parts get donated to science for study and analysis, and then the research can be used to gather some scientific understanding or thought (Anton, Silberglitt, and Schneider 2012). The theft of human body parts has been growing steadily, especially in third-world countries. It is because of the rampant insecurity that renders the locals to the unscrupulous body part dealers who steal their body parts to settle demand in the first world.

There are cases in such countries as Thailand, where persons get drugged during a night out with friends and wake up the next day without a kidney and lack the memory of how they lost it. These stolen body parts find their way to the wider and more global black market where they end up being transplanted to a client or patient in Brazil. There is also coercion whereby a person is forced to offer his body part for operation on the pain of death or while being held at ransom as this does not get done out of the individual’s volition. This theft and black market trades on human parts contribute to the bulk of the cases of body parts in circulation (Anton, Silberglitt, and Schneider 2012).

These dealings have evoked the establishment of the field of bioethics that works to try to mitigate the emerging problems associated with transplants. There are also just and fair manners to obtain body parts to use in operations. These include voluntarism whereby a person may forfeit a part of their body to someone else for transplant. It often happens in kidney transplant cases where a person can donate one of their two kidneys to another person who is in need (Steinbock, Arras, and London 2009). It is of the donor’s free volition without any pressure to donate to a patient in need.

There is also another donation of body parts that are often incorporated in a person’s will. It requires them to be a registered organ donor and in this scenario, a person’s viable body parts can be harvested should they pass on. In this case, the state is the one that benefits from these body parts and uses them to distribute to areas of need (Finegold 2005). As discussed above, there is the commitment of one’s body upon death to research towards science and medicine for experimentation and anatomical analysis. In essence, is to further the understanding of this field for future references.

The reduction of body parts to a commodity is the major problem that comes forth due to the establishment of international organ markets. It has essentially put a price tag on all of human life (Steinbock, Arras, and London 2009). With the valuation of the various body parts, meaning that they can get traded, stolen, sold, and bought at with the prevailing supply and demand model of business. In essence, this raises the different ethical issues that envisage social justice and go to the core of the human traditions and fundamental beliefs about the sanctity of human life. Thus, it works to create the dilemma that would get observed above, especially on the legal front (Anton, Silberglitt, and Schneider 2012).

Strengths and weaknesses

Human beings endeavor to be successful and this is a basic human right that has remained protected in all the constitutions of the world. It creates quite a jargon as this productivity in a bid to achieve self-actualization needs to conform to the laid down rules about the sanctity of life. In this day and age, there existed various debates at the time of when life initiates and when It ends and especially in our context. The discussion takes the turn to the necessity to uphold such views of human dignity even after persons are dead (Finegold 2005).

Some people think that everyone has a moral obligation to upon death provide their body for organ harvesting. It gets based on the simple argument that once dead, instead of letting the otherwise useful parts get discarded, they can be used to save and safeguard another life. There also exist those who are of the considerations that are more conservatism, and that seek to protect the body of the dead from being harvested for boy parts (Finegold 2005).

This view gets associated with the religious movement that seeks to preserve the natural form of the thing and most especially the human for even and most especially after death (Steinbock, Arras and London 2009). The third group is a divided lot whose view on the subject hinges upon the fact that body parts are a property of the person. Until and unless the person provides it freely and of his volition, there should be no authority to take them. In this case, they agree that transplants can be done, but they are only carried out with the express permission of those affected by the operation. For instance, the donor and the recipient of the body parts (Steinbock, Arras, and London 2009). Of the three policies available above, I would like to choose the one where the operation takes place only and strictly with the express permission of the donor in this case as they are the ones most affected.

All this would be either in writing or verbal permission just as long as there is express permission. In this case, the person’s liberties are being observed in the saving of another person’s life (Finegold 2005). It provides a solution to the dilemma while preserving the freedom of an individual and their integrity at the same time. The other policies are unfavorable as they do not take into consideration the opinion and the wishes of the donor. But this one is accorded adequate respect to the donor concerning the right of the individual.

Conclusion

In finality, there are various ways to create consensus over the different methodologies of use in solving this dilemma. The most effective one is where there is a compromise on both sides of the divide while ensuring that the freedom and liberties of the person donating the body part are respected. It can ensure that both sides are happy and satisfied. For it to be understood, compromise is essential and thus for this reason there is a consensus. The role of transplant surgery in saving lives is critical to improving the quality of life, and it is essential also to ensure that ethics and moral values remain duly observed at the same time.

References

Anton, P., Silberglitt, R., and Schneider, J. (2012). The Global Technology Revolution. Santa Monica: RAND.

Finegold, D. (2005). Bioindustry Ethics. Amsterdam: Elsevier Academic Press.

Lewis, M., Tamparo, C., and Tatro, B. (2012). Medical Law, Ethics and Bioethics for the Health Professions. Philadelphia: Davis Company.

Steinbock, B., Arras, J., and London, A. (2009). Ethical Issues in Modern Medicine. Boston: McGraw-Hill.

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