The arrival of synthetic organs may mean we need to reconsider principles of ownership of such items. One possible ownership criterion is the boundary between the organ’s being outside or inside the body. What is outside of my body, even if it is a natural organ made of my cells, may belong to a company or research institution. Yet when it is placed in me, it belongs to me. In the future, we should also keep an eye on how the (...) availability of synthetic organs may change our attitudes toward our own bodies. (shrink)
Figuring out what pushes individuals to become organ donors has become the holy grail of social scientists interested in transplantations. In this paper I concentrate on solidarity as a determinant of organ donation and examine it through the history of organ donation in Israel. By following the history of transplantation policies since 1968 and examining them in relation to different types of solidarities, this paper leads to a nuanced understanding of the ties between solidarity and health policy. Attempts to foster (...) an all-encompassing consensus on the definition of brain death yielded the Transplantation and the Brain-Respiratory Death Laws of 2008. It was hoped that a wide “civic solidarity” would render Israel self-sufficient in its organ economy. However, the failure of the law led to the breakdown of civic solidarity in organ donation. As a result, initiatives such as the priority policy and non-directed living organ donations, developed out of a narrower conception of solidarity. Juxtaposing these initiatives sheds light on macro level processes for policy makers and suggests solidarity as a key bioethical concept to understand organ donation policies. (shrink)
Background: Empirical studies in Muslim communities on organ donation and blood transfusion show that Muslim counsellors play an important role in the decision process. Despite the emerging importance of online English Sunni fatwas, these fatwas on organ donation and blood transfusion have hardly been studied, thus creating a gap in our knowledge of contemporary Islamic views on the subject. Method: We analysed 70 English Sunni e-fatwas and subjected them to an in-depth text analysis in order to reveal the key concepts (...) in the Islamic ethical framework regarding organ donation and blood transfusion. Results: All 70 fatwas allow for organ donation and blood transfusion. Autotransplantation is no problem at all if done for medical reasons. Allotransplantation, both from a living and a dead donor, appears to be possible though only in quite restricted ways. Xenotransplantation is less often mentioned but can be allowed in case of necessity. Transplantation in general is seen as an ongoing form of charity. Nearly half of the fatwas allowing blood transfusion do so without mentioning any restriction or problem whatsoever. The other half of the fatwas on transfusion contain the same conditional approval as found in the arguments pro organ transplantation. Conclusion: Our findings are very much in line with the international literature on the subject. We found two new elements: debates on the definition of the moment of death are hardly mentioned in the English Sunni fatwas and organ donation and blood transfusion are presented as an ongoing form of charity. (shrink)
William Simkulet has challenged our recent argument that parents have an obligation to donate organs and tissues to the same extent that abortion is restricted. The central feature of our argument is that parents have a duty to protect their offspring. If this duty is sufficient to require gestation of a fetus, then it is also sufficient to require that the parent allow offspring the continued use of their organs and tissues. Simkulet challenges this argument on several fronts. In this (...) paper, we refute each of these challenges and further clarify the contours of our argument. In particular, our rebuttal highlights the relation between special obligations an agent-neutral obligations and the biological foundation of the duty to protect. (shrink)
Default positions, predetermined starting points that aide in complex decision-making, are common in clinical medicine. In this paper, we identify and critically examine common default positions in clinical ethics practice. Whether default positions ought to be held is an important normative question, but here we are primarily interested in the descriptive, rather than normative, properties of default positions. We argue that default positions in clinical ethics function to protect and promote important values in medicine—respect for persons, utility, and justice. Further, (...) default positions in clinical ethics may also guard against harm. Where default positions exist, there are epistemic burdens to overturn them. The person wishing to reject the default position, rather than the person endorsing it, bears this burden. The person who bears the burden of meeting the epistemic requirements must provide evidence proportional to the degree of harm the default position protects against. Default positions that protect against significant harm impose significant epistemic requirements to overturn. This asymmetry not only makes medical decision-making more economical, but it also serves to promote and protect certain values. The identification and analysis of common and recognizable default positions can help to identify other default positions and the conditions under which their associated epistemic requirements are met. The paper concludes with considerations of potential problems with the use of default positions in clinical ethics. (shrink)
After having accomplished an observation of the different problematic that affect the daily life of our city, as reflect of what happens in the rest of the national territory, we have been attracted to implement a juridical analysis to the situation of the donation and organ transplantation in the legal ambit of our country, with the objective to identify the level of efficacy and the normative scope with respect to the situation of people who need a transplant. This restlessness born (...) from the analysis of the law 1716 and its regulation, which ambiguously delimits the functions of the centers of health in what respect to this topic, also to establish the creation of a waiting list and a record, tool which objective would be norm the permanent supply of organs through donation programs. These do not accomplish their objective or being attached to a public policy in the ambit that allow the continuity of the institutions and benefit of the people in need. (shrink)
Is it possible to donate unpaired vital organs, foreseeing but not intending one’s own death? We argue that this is indeed psychologically possible, and thus far agree with Charles Camosy and Joseph Vukov in their recent paper on “double effect donation.” Where we disagree with these authors is that we see double-effect donation not as a morally praiseworthy act akin to mar- tyrdom but as a morally impermissible act that necessarily disrespects human bodily integrity. Respect for bodily integrity goes beyond (...) avoiding the aim to kill; not all side effects of deliberate bodily interventions can be outweighed by intended benefits for another even if the subject fully consents. It is not any necessary intention to kill or harm another or oneself that makes lethal donation/harvesting illicit but the more immediate intention to accept or perform surgery on an (innocent) person combined with the foresight of lethal harm and no health-related good for him or her. Double-effect donation falls foul of the first condition of double-effect reasoning in that the immediate act is wrong in itself. We argue further that the wider effects of such don- ation would be socially disastrous and corrupting of the medical profession: doctors should retain a sense of nonnegotiable respect for bodily integrity even when they intervene on willing subjects for the benefit of others. (shrink)
Is it possible to donate unpaired vital organs, foreseeing but not intending one's own death? We argue that this is indeed psychologically possible, and thus far agree with Charles Camosy and Joseph Vukov in their recent paper on 'double effect donation.' Where we disagree with these authors is that we see double effect donation not as a morally praiseworthy act akin to martyrdom but as a morally impermissible act that necessarily disrespects human bodily integrity. Respect for bodily integrity goes beyond (...) avoiding the aim to kill: not all side effects of deliberate bodily interventions can be outweighed by intended benefits for another even if the subject fully consents. It is not any necessary intention to kill or harm another or oneself that makes lethal donation/harvesting illicit but the more immediate intention to accept or perform surgery on an (innocent) person combined with the foresight of lethal harm and no health-related good for him or her. Double effect donation falls foul of the first condition of double effect reasoning in that the immediate act is wrong in itself. We argue further that the wider effects of such donation would be socially disastrous and corrupting of the medical profession: doctors should retain a sense of nonnegotiable respect for bodily integrity even when they intervene on willing subjects for the benefit of others. (shrink)
The Organ Donation Act 2019 has introduced an opt-out organ donor register in England, meaning that consent to the donation of organs upon death is presumed unless an objection during life was actively expressed. By assessing the rights of the dead over their organs, the sick to those same organs, and the role of consent in their requisition, this paper interrogates whether such paradigms for deceased organ donation are ethically justifiable. Where legal considerations are applicable, I focus on the recent (...) changes in England as a case in point; however, this paper ultimately challenges the justifiability of opt-out systems in any form, concluding that ethical solutions to organ shortage do not lie in opt-out systems of deceased organ procurement. (shrink)
Formal clinical trials of pig-to-human organ transplant—known as xenotransplantation—may begin this decade, with the first trials likely to consist of either adult renal transplants or pediatric cardiac transplant patients. Xenotransplantation as a systematic scientific study only reaches back to the latter half of the 20th century, with episodic xenotransplantation events occurring prior to that. As the science of xenotransplantation has progressed in the 20th and 21st centuries, the public's knowledge of the potential therapy has also increased. With this, there have (...) been shifting ethical stances toward xenotransplantation in key areas, such as religious and public viewpoints towards xenotransplantation, animal rights, and public health concerns. This review provides a historical–ethical account of xenotransplantation and details if or how viewpoints have shifted over time. (shrink)
This chapter gives an outline of the development of the human organ transplant system in Hong Kong, whose key features are a soft opt-in system and strict prohibitions on commercial dealings in human organs for transplant. It is argued that under such a system, there is a lack of incentives for either cadaveric or living organ donations and for family members to endorse deceased donation. This argument is followed by an investigation of the shortage of organ donations in Hong Kong, (...) the limited success of the government promotion to improve the number of donations, and a discussion of new alternatives for improvement that have been initiated or proposed. It is argued that the feasibility and effectiveness of these alternatives are limited and uncertain. More radical reform of the existing system in terms of honorary, compensationalist, and familist incentives is needed and they all need to be taken into consideration. (shrink)
This chapter discusses some legal implications of Hong Kong’s three types of organ donation incentive and presents further thoughts about their ethical and policy implications. It aims to transform the useful findings presented in previous chapters into legal solutions and policy innovations in practice. We argue that the Hong Kong law is able to incorporate mixed incentive measures and further suggest detailed legal rules regarding organ incentives for the government to consider. In terms of ethical and policy implications in a (...) wider context, we suggest a paradigm shift in incentive structure and the adoption of mixed incentive measures for the promotion of organ donation and procurement. However, we agree that the exact choice or combination of organ incentive measures ultimately depends on how each country or jurisdiction will assess their practical effectiveness, political legitimacy, and ethical justification. (shrink)
This Ideas and Opinions article revisits an argument from Judith Jarvis Thomson in her essay “A Defense of Abortion” that abortion can be an ethical choice even if we assume that fetuses have full moral personhood and moral rights. The authors examine the implications of laws that require a pregnant person to care for another with their body and what other impositions states may also require of citizens to care for others.
This book provides the first systematic study on three types of incentives for organ donation. It covers extensive research conducted in four culturally different societies: Hong Kong, mainland China, Iran and the United States, and shows on the basis of the research that a new model of incentives can be constructed to enhance organ donation in contemporary societies. The book focuses on three types of incentives: honorary incentives, commonly adopted in the United States and other Western countries by offering things (...) such as a thank-you card and a memorial park for donors to encourage donations motivated by pure altruism; compensationalist incentives, adopted in the Islamic Republic of Iran to encourage donation by providing monetary compensation to unrelated living donors for appreciating their altruistic contribution of donation; and familist incentives, implemented in Israel and mainland China to provide priority to organ transplantation to donors and/or their family members. The book demonstrates that a new model of incentives must go beyond offering only one type of incentives and should rather include different types of incentives that are practically effective, politically legitimate and ethically justifiable for particular societies. This implies that suitable incentive measures may vary from society to society to optimize organ donation. This book provides a clear reference for both the scholars and practitioners in the field of organ transplantation, as well as for general readers interested in bioethics and health care policy. (shrink)
This chapter provides conceptual and ethical comments on Hong Kong’s interview findings and survey results regarding the three types of incentive for organ donation. It focuses on three particular conceptual and ethical issues. First, it shows that there is not always a clear-cut distinction between an honorary and a compensationalist incentive measure for organ donation. Instead, a measure such as offering a public columbarium niche to a deceased donor in Hong Kong carries both honorary and compensationalist elements and can, as (...) a mixed type of incentive measure, be ethically justified for adoption in that society, even if purely monetary incentives cannot be similarly ethically justified. Moreover, in relation to the proposal to offer a familist incentive in Hong Kong (namely, to give patients with a first-degree family member who was a cadaveric donor, or who have themselves previously been live donors, a priority right for a transplant over other medically similar patients), it is argued that no proposed opposing reason is ethically convincing. Finally, the chapter demonstrates that there are legitimate considerations to support maintaining Hong Kong’s familist decision-making model regarding organ donation. (shrink)
As usually understood, the Dead Donor Rule (DDR) for organ donation requires either that (1) the donor is already dead (which legally occurs when death is determined by neurological criteria), and/or that (2) organ procurement does not cause the donor’s death.
This chapter is a contextual investigation of organ donation in the United States. It first presents empirical data related to the growth of donation rates to contextualize relevant developments before introducing the key legal apparatus, the National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA). Part Two details policy and legislation regarding transplantation in the US, covering the justification for and goals of organ donation, the history of relevant regulations, and the passage of NOTA. Part Three focuses on the systems and structures of organ (...) transplantation, illustrating the function of the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), the payors’ role in the regulation of transplantation, and the Final Rule guiding principles in organ donation. The last section situates developments in Chicago in this context and outlines the role of the regional OPO, Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network (Gift of Hope). (shrink)
This chapter discusses the barriers to donation, the role of different incentives, and the successful experience of Iran in promoting organ donation. The lack of knowledge about brain death, controversies regarding compensationalist incentives for live donation as opposed to brain-dead donations (BDDs), and giving consent to donation on behalf of someone else are the three main barriers to improving organ donation in Iran. Incentives with a compensationalist component were found to be sensitive and controversial, and familist incentives were believed to (...) have no significant effect on the decision in favor of organ donation. This chapter argues that offering to pay the funeral expenses of deceased donors is both compensationalist and honorary. It not only constitutes a symbol of respect for the deceased person and their family but is also a compensational incentive for the grieving families, in addition to serving as an effective public education tool regarding brain death. (shrink)
The interviews carried out in Iran investigate how people view organ donation and relevant incentives. The data collected from the 18 interviewees with organ recipients, experts in the organ donation field, donors, and donor family members shows that all interviewees believed deceased organ donation is an excellent source for transplantation which can help grieving families. The interviewees also concur that donors deserve some compensation, but they are more in favor of honorary than compensationalist incentives. Among the proposed compensationalist incentive measures, (...) funeral expenses were the only option that all interviewees agreed with. Meanwhile, the impact of familist incentives was believed to be limited. The interviews also show that public education is the preferred means of promoting organ donation in Iran. (shrink)
In this paper, we propose a novel approach to permit members of the public opportunity to record more nuanced wishes in relation to organ donation. Recent developments in organ donation and procurement have made the associated processes potentially more multistaged and complex than ever. At the same time, opt-out legislation has led to a more simplistic recording of wishes than ever. We argue that in order to be confident that a patient would really wish to go ahead with the various (...) interventions and procedures that now accompany organ donation, more nuanced information than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ may be required. This is of particular importance for donation after circulatory death, where some interventions to facilitate donation occur when the patient is still alive. We propose the implementation of an online form to allow people to record more nuanced wishes in relation to donation, including an indication of competing wishes and how these should be weighed into decision-making. We argue that this approach will promote autonomous decision-making for the public, potentially reduce difficulties that family members encounter at the time of organ donation, and should make medical staff more confident that they are truly acting according to the wishes and best interests of their patients. (shrink)
We would like to respond to the article “Organ donation after euthanasia starting at home in a patient with multiple system atrophy Tajaâte et al.,  22:120” on organ donation after euthanasia from home [ODEH]. Although we welcome the performance of ODEH, we would like to make some critical comments regarding the article, both in relation to factual inaccuracies and in terms of the vision expressed on this subject. In this letter we stress the protection of autonomy of vulnerable euthanasia (...) patients, we contradict the assumption of illegality, we question if the anesthesia method utilized is optimal and correct a mistake in regard to an article to which is referred of ourselves. (shrink)
This commentary addresses the proposal and argumentative line presented in the paper ‘Whole Body Gestational Donation’ (WBGD) by Anna Smajdor (2023), published as an intended ‘outrageous argument’ in a dedicated special issue of Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics. We believe that the paper is fatally flawed due to its lack of engagement with relevant approaches in ethics and essential sources in health sciences as well as its insufficient, superficial, and rash argumentation. Its critical weaknesses include, among others, that it does not (...) take any explicit ethical stance, it does not consider the societal impacts of its premise, and it hastily assumes a large degree of equivalency between WBGD and the usual organ donations. These scholarly flaws are made worse by the fact that the paper is not merely an academic thought experiment but contains important policy change proposals. As a consequence, the paper feeds into more general and systemic worries about the suitability of philosophy for public policy. (shrink)
This essay is a comparative analysis of results reported in this volume from studies in mainland China, the United States, Iran, and Hong Kong regarding organ donation incentives. They reveal widespread (but not unanimous) support for honorary incentives (such as notes or ceremonies of gratitude) and significant support for familist incentives (offering a donor’s family members priority should they need an organ transplant in the future). Opinions on financial incentives were much more mixed, with significant worries expressed regarding potential exploitation (...) and unfairness. These interviews also reinforce the importance of culturally appropriate constructions of any steps to increase organ donation rates. And, in addition to their comments on various types of incentive, interviewees in these chapters also offer insight into other measures that could be taken to increase organ donation. (shrink)
We would like to respond to the comment we received from our colleagues on our case report about organ donation after euthanasia starting at home. We reply to their statements on medical and legal aspects, and provide more information on our view of informed consent.
China is facing a shortage of human organs for transplantations and is also in the process of reforming its system of incentives for human organ donation. We conducted a two-year research project in two big Chinese cities (Beijing and Tianjin) with three primary objectives: (1) to review the institutional progress of policy reform for organ donation in mainland China; (2) to understand how China’s current three prevailing organ donation incentive methods (namely honorary, compensationalist, and familist) have been run in practice; (...) and (3) to clarify what particular incentives should be adopted in mainland China as part of our policy recommendations for improving organ donation rates. In-depth interviews with eighteen persons familiar with organ donation were conducted. Our main findings were that, according to our interviewees, while honorary, compensationalist, and familist incentives have coexisted in the current Chinese practice of organ donation, no one type of incentive has shown significant advantages over others. The effectiveness and suitability of these different types of incentives for organ donation should therefore be subject to long-term observation and ethical evaluation. (shrink)
This chapter makes further ethical commentaries in response to the findings as described in Chaps. 2 and 3. We contend that it is not the case that only one type of incentive can be justified to motivate organ donation in mainland China. In particular, we argue that while each of the three types of incentive (honorary, compensationalist, and familist) can work, some particular incentive measures can be ethically justified and be the most motivating in the context of mainland China. Based (...) on our findings and arguments, we revisit the orientation of China’s organ donation reform and attempt to provide some recommendations for future policy considerations. (shrink)
Here I consider some of the ethical and philosophical issues at the intersection of medical assistance in dying (MAiD) and deceased organ donation (DOD). Three possible objections about inherent aspects of the practice of DOD after MAiD are considered, and rejected. The bulk of the chapter examines recent calls to keep decisions about DOD and MAiD separate, and to clarifying the nature of the ethical concerns underlying effort to protect patients from undue pressure and coercion. Several insights are revealed as (...) a result of this analysis, including that there is good reason to think that sometimes it may be morally justifiable to allow an eligible patient to pursue MAiD because they wish to donate their organs after death. Noting that more research is needed, I close with several recommendations for policy and practice. (shrink)
This chapter introduces the background to organ donation and transplantation in mainland China. First, it briefly describes China’s current healthcare system and the development of organ transplantation. Then it introduces some important legislation and landmark policies regarding organ donation in recent years. Finally, it presents the organ donation operation system and its relevant features in mainland China.
Across the globe, there are many different ways of promoting cadaveric organ donation, but they can essentially be categorized as honorary incentives, familist incentives, and compensationalist incentives, or a combination of these. It is believed that the culture, norms, and ethical values of different places matter when considering what kinds of incentive to implement. It should also be noted that, in terms of effectiveness, implementing the same approach in two different places can lead to quite diverse outcomes. Hong Kong is (...) one place which provides honorary incentives for cadaveric organ donation, but their effectiveness has been called into question. It is worthwhile investigating how different stakeholders perceive the three main incentives so as to find ethical ways to stimulate the rate of cadaveric organ donation. This chapter reveals the qualitative findings of in-depth interviews in Hong Kong. (shrink)
Aiming to understand Hong Kong people’s attitudes toward the three types of incentives (honorary, familist, compensationalist) for organ donation, we conducted a questionnaire with the method of cluster sampling. We divided the Hong Kong population into clusters according to its eighteen districts (local councils) and then selected four districts to carry out the survey. To make sure that the sampling represents the larger population of Hong Kong, we reached out to respondents from private estates and public housing in each of (...) the four representative districts. After several rounds of data collection and data cleaning, 1600 valid respondents remained. The survey results provide a general picture of Hong Kong people’s preferences in relation to the three types of incentive as well as their feelings about the usefulness of particular incentive measures because our samples reflect the characteristics of the larger population of Hong Kong. This chapter summarizes the findings of this survey. (shrink)
The need for organs to transplant is clear. Due to the lack of transplants, people suffer, they die, and the cost of taking care of them until they die is huge. There is general agreement that it would be good to increase the supply of organs in order to meet the demand for organ transplantation.
Some people oppose abortion on the grounds that fetuses have full moral status and thus a right to not be killed. We argue that special obligations that hold between mother and fetus also hold between parents and their children. We argue that if these special obligations necessitate the sacrifice of bodily autonomy in the case of abortion, then they also necessitate the sacrifice of bodily autonomy in the case of organ donation. If we accept the argument that it is obligatory (...) to override a woman’s bodily autonomy for the sake of an unborn child’s survival, we must continue to override the bodily autonomy of parents to ensure the survival of their living children, until the parent no longer has a special obligation to their child to the same degree as their special obligation to the fetus. And if the life of a child is truly more important than the bodily autonomy of its parents, as must be the case to force women to carry unwanted pregnancies to term, this should remain true until such a time that their children are no longer considered their responsibility. Thus, parity of reasoning suggests that policies compelling the gestation of a fetus should be accompanied by policies compelling organ donation. (shrink)
Background: This research explores how public awareness and attitudes toward donation and transplantation policies may contribute to Spain's success in cadaveric organ donation. Materials and Methods: A representative sample of 813 people residing in Andalusia (Southern Spain) were surveyed by telephone or via Internet between October and December 2018. Results: Most participants trust Spain's donation and transplantation system (93%) and wish to donate their organs after death (76%). Among donors, a majority have expressed their consent (59%), and few nondonors have (...) expressed their refusal (14%). Only a minority are aware of the presumed consent system in force (28%) and feel sufficiently informed regarding the requirements needed to be an organ donor (16%). Participants mainly consider that relatives should represent the deceased's preferences and be consulted when the deceased's wishes are unknown, as is the case in Spain. Conclusion: Public trust in the transplant system may contribute to Spain's high performance in organ donation. High levels of societal support toward organ donation and transplantation do not correspond with similar levels of public awareness of donation and transplantation policies in Spain. (shrink)
In the following interview, philosophers Leonard Fleck and Arthur Ward discuss the latter’s recent experience of being a nondirected kidney donor. The interview took place in the Center for Bioethics and Social Justice at Michigan State University.
In the beginning of the COVID pandemic, researchers and bioethicists called for human challenge trials to hasten the development of a vaccine for COVID. However, the fact that we lacked a specific, highly effective treatment for COVID led many to argue that a COVID challenge trial would be unethical and we ought to pursue traditional phase III testing instead. These ethical objections to challenge trials may have slowed the progress of a COVID vaccine, so it is important to evaluate their (...) merit. One common way of doing so is to make an analogy to other social practices that are relevantly similar and which we currently sanction. We submit that non-directed live organ donation (NDLOD) is a promising analogy. After arguing that the risks to volunteers for each activity appear similar, we explore potential disanalogies that would undermine the comparison. We note that there are differences in both the kind and certainty of benefit secured by NDLOD compared to challenge trials. We conclude these differences are insufficient to make NDLOD permissible and challenge trials impermissible. Ultimately, if we think the risks associated with NDLOD are ethically permissible, then we should think the same of the risks associated with COVID challenge trials. (shrink)
The genetic modification of pigs as a source of transplantable organs is one of several possible solutions to the chronic organ shortage. This paper describes existing ethical tensions in xenotransplantation (XTx) that argue against pursuing it. Recommendations for lifelong infectious disease surveillance and notification of close contacts of recipients are in tension with the rights of human research subjects. Parental/guardian consent for pediatric xenograft recipients is in tension with a child’s right to an open future. Individual consent to transplant is (...) in tension with public health threats that include zoonotic diseases. XTx amplifies concerns about justice in organ transplantation and could exacerbate existing inequities. The prevention of infectious disease in source animals is in tension with the best practices of animal care and animal welfare, requiring isolation, ethologically inappropriate housing, and invasive reproductive procedures that would severely impact the well-being of intelligent social creatures like pigs. (shrink)
This paper looks at the ethics of opt-in vs. opt-out of organ donation as Scotland has transitioned its systems to promote greater organ availability. We first analyse studies that compare the donation rates in other regions due to such a system switch and find that organ increase is inconclusive and modest at best. This is due to a lack of explicit opt-out choices resulting in greater resistance and family override unless there are infrastructures and greater awareness to support such change. (...) The paper then looks at the difference between informed consent of the opt-in vs. presumed consent in the opt-out approaches. Patient autonomy and dignity are better reflected with informed consent. Eighteen months have passed since the new organ donation policy has come into effect, this paper recommends more research into organ donors’ psychological motivations to help governments and the healthcare profession obtain more organs for transplantation. (shrink)
In Righting Health Policy, MacDougall argues that bioethics has not developed the tools best suited for justifying health law and policy. Using Kant’s practical philosophy as an example, he explores the promise of political philosophy for making normatively justified recommendations about health law and policy.
Altruism and solidarity are concepts that are closely related to organ donation for transplantation. On the one hand, they are typically used for encouraging people to donate. On the other hand, they also underpin the regulations in force in each country to different extents. They are often used indistinctly and equivocally, despite the different ethical implications of each concept. This paper aims to clarify to what extent we can speak of altruism and solidarity in the predominant models of organ donation. (...) It also raises the ethical question of whether these categories are adequate as a basis for such models, bearing in mind that organs are a scarce resource and that a shortage of them may mean that fewer lives are saved or improved. (shrink)
Goal: To assess public knowledge and attitudes towards the family’s role in deceased organ donation in Europe. -/- Methods: A systematic search was conducted in CINHAL, MEDLINE, PAIS Index, Scopus, PsycINFO, and Web of Science on December 15th, 2017. Eligibility criteria were socio-empirical studies conducted in Europe from 2008 to 2017 addressing either knowledge or attitudes by the public towards the consent system, including the involvement of the family in the decision-making process, for post-mortem organ retrieval. Screening and data collection (...) were performed by two or more independent reviewers for each record. -/- Results: Of the 1482 results, 467 studies were assessed in full-text form, and 33 were included in this synthesis. When the deceased has not expressed any preference, a majority of the public support the family's role as a surrogate decision-maker. When the deceased expressly consented, the respondents' answers depend on whether they see themselves as potential donors or as a deceased's next-of-kin. Answers also depend on the relationship between the deceased and the decision-maker(s) within the family, and on their ethnic or cultural background. -/- Conclusions: Public views on the authority of the family in organ donation decision-making require further research. A common conceptual framework and validated well-designed questionnaires are needed for future studies. The findings should be considered in the development of Government policy and guidance regarding the role of families in deceased organ donation. (shrink)
Objectives To increase postmortem organ donation rates, several countries are adopting an opt-out (presumed consent) policy, meaning that individuals are deemed donors unless they expressly refused so. Although opt-out countries tend to have higher donation rates, there is no conclusive evidence that this is caused by the policy itself. The main objective of this study is to better assess the direct impact of consent policy defaults per se on deceased organ recovery rates when considering the role of the family in (...) the decision-making process. This study does not take into account any indirect effects of defaults, such as potential psychological and behavioural effects on individuals and their relatives. -/- Design Based on previous work regarding consent policies, we created a conceptual model of the decision-making process for deceased organ recovery that included any scenario that could be directly influenced by opt-in or opt-out policies. We then applied this model to internationally published data of the consent process to determine how frequently policy defaults could apply. -/- Main outcome measures We measure the direct impact that opt-in and opt-out policies have per se on deceased organ recovery. -/- Results Our analysis shows that opt-in and opt-out have strictly identical outcomes in eight out of nine situations. They only differ when neither the deceased nor the family have expressed a preference and defaults therefore apply. The direct impact of consent policy defaults is typically circumscribed to a range of 0%–5% of all opportunities for organ recovery. Our study also shows that the intervention of the family improves organ retrieval under opt-in but hinders it under opt-out. -/- Conclusions This study may warn policy makers that, by emphasising the need to introduce presumed consent to increase organ recovery rates, they might be overestimating the influence of the default and underestimating the power granted to families. (shrink)
The dead donor rule (DDR) prohibits retrieval protocols that would be lethal to the donor. Some argue that compliance with it can be maintained by satisfying the requirements of double‐effect reasoning (DER). If successful, one could support organ donation without reference to the definition of death while being faithful to an ethic that prohibits intentionally killing innocent human life. On the contrary, I argue that DER cannot make lethal organ donation compatible with the DDR, because there are plausible ways it (...) fails DER's requirements. A key takeaway is that the theories of intention and proportionality assumed in DER matter for its plausibility as a constraint on practical reasoning. (shrink)
There are increasing calls for rejecting the ‘dead donor’ rule and permitting ‘organ donation euthanasia’ in organ transplantation. I argue that the fundamental problem with this proposal is that it would bestow more worth on the organs than the donor who has them. What is at stake is the basis of human equality, which, I argue, should be based on an ineliminable dignity that each of us has in virtue of having a rational nature. To allow mortal harvesting would be (...) to make our worth contingent upon variable quality of life of judgments that can only be based on properties that come in degrees. Thus, rejecting the ‘dead donor’ rule comes at the expense of our egalitarian principles with respect to the value each individual human life has in relation to the protections against killing. (shrink)
Background and purpose Changes to deceased organ donation policy in the USA, including opt-out and priority systems, have been proposed to increase registration and donation rates. To study attitudes towards such policies, we surveyed healthcare students to assess support for opt-out and priority systems and reasons for support or opposition. Methods We investigated associations with supporting opt-out, including organ donation knowledge, altruism, trust in the healthcare system, prioritising autonomy and participants’ evaluation of the moral severity of incorrectly assuming consent in (...) opt-in systems or opt-out systems, by conducting an online survey among healthcare students at a large academic institution. Results Of 523 respondents, 86% supported opt-out, including 53% who strongly supported the policy. The most popular reason for supporting opt-out was the potential for increased donation rates, followed by convenience for those not registered but willing to donate. The most popular reason for opposing opt-out was the belief that presuming consent is morally wrong. Those strongly supporting opt-out viewed the opt-in error as more morally unacceptable, and had higher knowledge and altruism scores. Those opposing opt-out viewed the opt-out error as more unacceptable, and had higher autonomy scores. 48% of respondents supported priority within opt-in systems; 31% supported priority in opt-out. Conclusions There is strong support for opt-out organ donation among healthcare students, influenced by both practical and moral considerations. (shrink)
Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority country, has a national organ donation law that was passed in 1999 and revised in 2018. The law allows living-related and brain-dead donor organ transplantation. There are no legal barriers to these two types of organ donations, but there is no legislation providing necessary costs and incentive measures associated with successful organ transplants. However, many governments across the globe provide different types of incentives for motivating living donors and families of deceased donors. This study assesses the merits (...) and demerits of incentive measures already in use around the world and proposes ethical measures that can promote organ donation in Bangladesh. The primary focus of this paper is to present an ethical analysis of the comparison of incentive measures on organ donation between Bangladesh and the Islamic Republic of Iran as two Muslim countries that operate organ donation for transplantation practices according to Islamic principles. In this paper, I mainly argue that providing a fixed bare minimum financial incentive measure to distantly related living donors and families of deceased donors will encourage Bangladeshis to donate organs in a manner that is ethically justifiable, morally permissible, and socio-economically appropriate. The government of Bangladesh should revise the existing biomedical law to include a provision related to incentive measures and set a strict policy to properly regulate these measures as key stewardship that can ethically promote organ donation for transplantation. (shrink)