Organ donation and transplant

Part 1: Introduction

Organ donation and transplant have been an issue of concern in the contemporary world. Decades ago, organ donation was not acceptable since it was perceived as a taboo among the local communities and unethical across the globe. Even if organ donation was allowed, there were fewer chances of the organ working on the new recipient. However, as technology continued to advance, more sophisticated medical equipment was designed, some of which aided in surgery as well as the transplant of new organs. As a result, lots of patients have been recipients of organ donations, which has left them with a smile on their face. Most of the organs for transplantation are sourced from cadavers, in which healthy organs such as the kidneys, heart, and liver are taken and preserved to help a needy patient who might require them in the future. However, organ donations from the cadavers have failed to meet the growing demand for organs, and as a result of this, attention has been turned to organs sourced from living donors. Organ donation by the living donors has presented a unique ethical dilemma, in that physicians must risk the life of a healthy individual to save or improve the life of a patient. Transplantation surgeons have therefore been cautious in tapping the unique source of organ donations from living individuals. As surgical techniques and outcomes have continued to improve over the decades, the practice of organ donation has slowed been on the rise. According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, more than half of the United States organ donations come from living individuals. Organ donation from living persons may result in potential health problems, disability, or even death, and this raises the question of whether organ donation and transplantation from living donors should be allowed even if it results in an improvement of a patient’s health and saving a life. Organ donation from a living person should not be allowed, and other alternatives, such as sourcing from the cadavers should be used in place of living donors.

Part 2: Ethical Argument

Organ donation from living donors should not be allowed since they pose a significant threat to the health of the donors. Besides, there are other non-health effects of live donations which arise ethical consideration, such as the right to refuse, mentally incompetent individuals, informed consent as well as the commercialization of organ donation as a way of preying to the less fortunate. Therefore, it is morally unacceptable to allow the donation of organs from living individuals, as according to Kantian ethics, it serves as treating other people as mere means to attain maximum health or improvement of life.

Part 3: Explanation and Defense

Kantian ethics postulates that we should treat other people as an end by themselves and not as mere means to personal gains. We have a moral obligation to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do, no matter the consequences of our decisions. People live different lifestyles, and this has taken a toll on the health of the people, from the foods that we eat to the activities that we are engaged in. As a result of this, many people have found themselves on the wrong side since some activities such as alcoholism and smoking that result in the damaging of organs. Others are used as test samples to drugs and other toxic chemicals that take a toll on their health, leading to the failure of certain organs. When this happens, living a normal life becomes a major problem, and the need to replace the organs becomes essential to support their life. When all this happens, some of the people live a better life in which they take care of their bodies and thus have their organs properly functioning. Based on this, when such an individual asks for organ donation, they are not acting in morally since they want to be given the organ to simply go and misuse it again. In this situation, the recipient of the organ treats the donor as a mere means to an end and not an end by themselves. We all deserve to be treated with dignity since we are all humans, and thus, we are entitled to equal intrinsic value as others. We all deserve respected.

With the increased demand for human organs, donations from living individuals have been on the lead. Millions of people have donated their organs not because they were willing to do it but because they were coerced into it. Organ donations have resulted in a massive business where individuals are involved in sourcing organs from unsuspecting victims. In hospitals, this has become an issue of concern, as many of the patients often become donors without their consent. During the operation, some of the surgeons are often tempted to remove some of the organs, especially kidneys, where they sell them. Therefore, even to the health care providers, the issue of organ donation has not been ethical as the victims are not asked of their consent when some of the organs are removed, and this mostly happens when they are helpless in the surgeon beds.

Other than in hospitals, living human organ donations has become a major concern. Since it has become a major business across the globe, some of the business people specializing in organ donation have shifted their attention not to the willing donors but the poor. The poor are under constant economic stress, and thus, they will do anything to get themselves out. As a result, they are blackmailed to signing organ donation forms to make them legit, while they are poorly compensated. Therefore, organ donation from the living has left only a few individuals doing it by will while others are kidnapped and all the organs harvested, leaving so many people dead in the scramble for human organs. Even if it doesn’t result in death, organ donation is not healthy to the donor as it leaves them suffering from health problems. For example, a kidney left after donation may fail to work, and this means that the donor has no alternative rather than be put on dialysis. Based on this, organ donations from living donors should not be allowed as it implies acting against Kantian ethics of treating other people as ends and not as mere means for self-gain.

Part 4: Objection and Response

However, individuals in support of living organ donation base their claims on a utilitarian ground in which they claim that organ donation is beneficial to many. According to utilitarian ethics, actions are considered morally right if they yield the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Based on this, a utilitarian would argue that regardless of the damage posed to the donating individual, as long as more people are helped to regain shape in terms of their health, organ donation should be allowed. According to them, voluntary donations or any other method even if it means coercion to donate the organ doesn’t matter, as according to utilitarianism, the decision doesn’t count, but the consequences of the actions are what is used to base action as morally right or wrong. Every human has the right to live, and even if it means donating organs to preserve or enhance the lives of many, it should be the right thing to do.

Part 5: Conclusion

The issue of organ donation, especially from living donors, has been controversial since it involves various ethical concerns. As a result, it has sparked debates with some people being in support of living organ donations while others oppose it. Those in support claim that according to utilitarianism, organ donation saves the lives of many while risking the life of a single individual, and therefore, according to the ethical theory, the action is morally acceptable. However, according to those in opposition, live donations are against the postulations of Kantian ethics. Kantian ethics postulates that all human beings have equal intrinsic value, and this means that they should be respected and treated with dignity. Kant states that we should treat all human beings as an end by themselves but not as a mere means for personal benefits. Therefore, the act of jeopardizing the lives of an individual to save others is morally unacceptable, as it treats individuals as mere means. Therefore, organ donation from living individuals should not be allowed as it does violate not only Kantian ethics but also the dignity and respect for human life, especially when sourced without the individual’s consent.

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