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Organ Donation: Postmortem Transplantation Essay

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Updated: Feb 28th, 2022

Introduction

Although the clinical methods are often the only possible solution for human survival, some of them may seem unethical to the social perception. First of all, this concerns the procedure of organ donation, as a result of which functional systems of a dead person are transferred to a living patient. The ethicality of such actions has been questioned, as this procedure may be ambiguously perceived by the relatives of the deceased patient and the recipient of organs.

Examples of Donations

Organ transplantation operations are a frequent practice in the medical community, so there are many examples of such procedures by now. Nine-year-old Briton Max was diagnosed in 2017 with dilated cardiomyopathy (“Max, heart,” 2017). The boy stood in line for a heart transplant for a long time and finally managed to get it from a dead Keira. Since then, the British Parliament has approved Max and Keira’s law, which postulates that all adults after death agree to donate their organs unless otherwise approved previously (“Max and Keira’s,” 2020). A similar story took place with an adult woman, Michelle, 23, living with a hard seal in her lung (NHS Organ Donation, 2020). When the interstitial disease intensified, the patient had a lung transplant.

Detailed Analysis

The organ transplantation is a real solution for all patients whose lives depend on organ systems’ functionality. A person is on the verge of death, and all that can help them is organ replacement. Thus, it is difficult to argue that bioethical issues may be above the desire to save a patient’s life. As a follow-up to this question, it should be noted that according to the “Organ donation statistics” (2020), every day, 17 people die waiting for a transplant, and every 9 minutes, another patient is added to the waiting list. Thus, by 2020, more than 109 thousand people are waiting for their turn for transplantation. At the same time, about 90 percent of adult Americans support organ donation, but only 60 percent have signed the agreement. As a result, this endorsement encourages the effective use of human organs after death, which positively impacts the country’s general health. In 2019, the United States conducted 39,717 organ transplants, with a total of 8.8 deaths per population of 1,000 citizens (Searing, 2020; “U.S. death,” 2020). This is a high figure and has been increasing for ten years now: thus, this problem is incredibly important and requires careful bioethical analysis.

Bioethical Problems

Since organ transplantation works with the phenomenon of human life, it has acquired many doubts about the categories of legality and justice of such actions. First and foremost, the ethical issue concerns the emotional pressure seen when such a solution is agreed upon. A dying patient, especially if they do not have close relatives, may be stressed if the doctor forces them to donate. Such pressure can also be implicit: in case if a medical worker is extremely pressured to talk about the necessity of such a decision. In this case, the patient may be forced to make an unrelated decision. The answer to this question may be to better inform the patient about their rights and consult independent experts.

Another bioethical problem is the opacity of the donation procedure, which may call into question the commercial motives of surgeons. In particular, the deceased’s relatives may be informed that the patient’s organs were removed with the patient’s consent, but the fate of these components is unknown. Therefore, cases, when a medical worker sells organs on the criminal market for their enrichment, are not excluded. It seems that this problem can be solved by introducing a system of careful tracking of organs and control of their movements. Thus, the patient’s relatives should be informed if the organs were chosen for transportation.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The donation has significant advantages for the patient and the healthcare system. Firstly, it increases the social responsibility of the individual and guarantees the performance of civic duty. Donating organs to those in need and allowing them to continue living is a good way to help the community. Secondly, this act allows to smooth out the grief of relatives a little. Thirdly, organ donation becomes the only solution for patients whose lives depend on transplantation. Finally, through self-sacrifice, research universities and clinics receive valuable study material. However, there are also disadvantages to this procedure. These include (i) possible complications during or after surgery, (ii) psychological effects on the donor’s family, (iii) some financial problems, and (iv) corrupt and criminal medical schemes.

Conclusion

Summarizing the data obtained, it should be noted that postmortem organ transplantation is a useful and effective strategy to ensure the recovery of terminally ill patients. Thanks to the donation, the patient has a chance to survive, and relatives of the deceased find support in charity. Two real examples were given in the essay, where desperate patients could get new organs and survive. In addition, the organs can be used in scientific research. It is worth admitting that such a procedure enjoys a very dubious reputation in the community of bioethics because, along with all the advantages, transplantation can be associated with crime and corruption. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop a thorough analysis and monitoring of the existing systems of governing bodies in order to achieve maximum transparency.

References

(2020). Yes, I Donate. Web.

(2017). Yes, I Donate. Web.

NHS Organ Donation. (2020). . YouTube.

(2020). HRSA. Web.

Searing, L. (2020). The Big Number: 39,717 organ transplants in the U.S. last year. The Washington Post. Web.

(2020). Macrotrends. Web.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Organ Donation: Postmortem Transplantation." February 28, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/organ-donation-postmortem-transplantation/.

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