David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 19 (1):61-78 (1994)
Scientific developments of the last 20 years have made the transplantation of cadaveric solid organs a viable and expected treatment alternative for patients suffering from various forms of End Stage Organ Disease. Of the number of organs that could be utilized for this, only a small percentage of them are actually made available. North American legislation explicitly categorizes the transfer of cadaveric organs as an anatomical or tissue "gift". The concept of the gift is mediated by transculturally consistent unwritten, but powerfully felt, rules of conduct. Among the most profound elements of the concept is the obligatory gift-exchange which is central to the gift-relationship . Obviously, neither of these are permitted by the organ transplant scenario. As a result, dissonance is created within the thought process of the individual which cannot be easily resolved, paralyzing many into inaction. We maintain that the present legal framework, designed to facilitate the transfer of organs, clashes with the human phenomenon of giving , and may actually prevent organs from being made available. In a search for a solution to this gift-relationship dilemma, giving organs is contrasted with taking organs as a basis upon which to ground ethically sound public policy. Liberty-limiting principles and the concept of harm are considered within this context. Keywords: ethics, organ transplantation, procurement, gift, public policy CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this?
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