Examining the potential exploitation of UNOS policies

American Journal of Bioethics 5 (4):6 – 10 (2005)
Abstract
The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) waiting list was designed as a just and equitable system through which the limited number of organs is allocated to the millions of Americans in need of a transplant. People have trusted the system because of the belief that everyone on the list has an equal opportunity to receive an organ and also that allocation is blind to matters of financial standing, celebrity or political power. Recent events have revealed that certain practices and policies have the potential to be exploited. The policies addressed in this paper enable those on the list with the proper resources to gain an advantage over other less fortunate members, creating a system that benefits not the individual most in medical need, but the one with the best resources. These policies are not only unethical but threaten the balance and success of the entire UNOS system. This paper proposes one possible solution, which seeks to balance the concepts of justice and utility.
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