Easy Rescues and Organ Transplantation

HEC Forum 21 (1):27-53 (2009)
Abstract
Many people in desperate need of an organ will die on waiting lists for transplantation or face increased morbidity because of their wait. This circumstance is particularly troubling since many viable organs for transplantation go unused when individuals fail to participate in their local organ donation system. In this paper, I consider whether participating in organ transplantation should be considered a form of a rescue of others from the great harms caused by a shortage in transplantable organs. Specifically, I consider whether cadaver organ transplantation is a case of an easy rescue. If so, participation in cadaver organ transplantation will be a duty rather than a supererogatory act.1 This question is important in illuminating individual duties to participate in organ transplantation. Moreover, as I will argue, it has repercussions for community-wide policies for enrolling individuals in transplantation schemes. In the first section of this paper, I tie cadaver organ transplantation to the duty to rescue others from great harm when it is easy to do so. Given the number of persons who will die or be greatly harmed without transplanted organs, the transfer of organs upon death is seemingly similar to other, classical cases of easy rescue. In the second section, I consider objections to this proposal on the ground that cadaver organ transplantation is structurally dissimilar to classical rescue cases, especially given uncertainty over when and to whom organs will be transplanted, if they are transplanted at all. In the third section, I consider the objection that cadaver organ transplantation is a demanding, rather than easy, rescue. While I grant that cadaver organ transplantation will be demanding for some persons, I argue that there remain many cases where it will be an easy rescue. In the final section, I consider the policy implications of my argument. In particular, I argue that understanding cadaver organ transplantation as a duty should shift the debate over opt-out, opt-in, and mandatory choice procedures for participating in organ transplantation upon death. While different systems will be appropriate for different communities, understanding transplantation as a duty in some cases helps to justify an opt-out system.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,404
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Michael B. Gill (2004). Presumed Consent, Autonomy, and Organ Donation. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 29 (1):37 – 59.

View all 22 references

Citations of this work BETA
Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-03-04

Total downloads

34 ( #52,105 of 1,103,008 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #46,928 of 1,103,008 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.