Confounders in Voluntary Consent about Living Parental Liver Donation: No Choice and Emotions [Book Review]

Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 10 (4):433-440 (2007)

Parents’ perception of having no choice and strong emotions like fear about the prospect of living liver donation can lead professionals to question the voluntariness of their decision. We discuss the relation of these experiences (no choice and emotions), as they are communicated by parents in our study, to the requirement of voluntariness. The perceived lack of choice, and emotions are two themes we found in the interviews conducted within the “Living Related Donation; a Qualitative-Ethical Study” research program. As a framework for the interpretation of these themes we discuss views of moral agency. We adopt a view in which relations are seen as constitutive of moral agency. Judging from this view, the perceived lack of choice can best be understood as a sign of commitment. We argue in this article that neither seeing no choice, nor emotions in themselves should be seen as compromises of a voluntary consent. However both experiences draw attention to aspects that are important to come to an evaluation of consent to donation. We discuss the story of one mother as an exemplary case to show how both themes can intertwine
Keywords emotions  family decisions  informed consent  living donors  moral Agency  transplantation  voluntariness
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DOI 10.1007/s11019-007-9075-1
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