Remapping the organ donation ethical climate: a care ethics consideration

Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 23 (2):295-308 (2020)
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Abstract

Organ donation has gained much attention as the need for transplant exceeds the supply of organs. Various proposals have been put forward to address the organ shortage challenge, ranging from offering incentives to donors, addressing family refusals to donations and instituting presumed consent laws. Presumed consent as the favoured approach has not been universally effective in increasing actual transplants despite its appeal. Few considerations have been given to the broader ethical climate influencing the organ donation debate. This paper examines the ethical climate surrounding organ donation and identifies the challenges existing within such environments. It explores care ethics and its application to the donation system, demonstrating how it can influence the organ donation phases. The conclusion drawn from the analysis is that a caring ethical climate in the pre, during and post-transplant system respects donor autonomy, addresses family reluctance to agree to donation, facilitates the needs of the donee and creates an environment that promotes non-maleficence for all stakeholders.

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