Mandating organ donation

Prior to 1980, death was defined as “the irreversible cessation of spontaneous respiration and circulation”.However, innovations in technology allowed hearts to continue working and thus the heart-lung definition of death became anachronistic.

Directed donations outnumber altruistic donations for a few reasons.

The most obvious reason is that the compassion and loyalty of a relative toward a loved one is strong enough to consent to harm.

There are a few religions that oppose organ donations/transplants, like Jehovah’s witnesses and the Christian scientists, but one following that actively opposes organ donations and transplants is Shinto followers.

The reason Shinto followers oppose organ donations/transplants is because of their definition of death.

Branching off from deceased donors, this paper will describe the two types of post-mortem consent and their ethical ramifications.

After detailing procurement of organs, ethical distribution will be addressed.

Since organs from a relative have a higher probability of a blood match with the member in need of an organ, a relative can feel inadvertently obligated to help the member in need.

This would unethically be inconspicuous coercion since the donor is not freely giving his/her organ away.

The most prominent ethical dilemma regarding live donors is that donations from the living only places the donors’ lives at risk and yield no physical benefits to the donors.

This is a direct violation of the Hippocratic oath taken by physicians mandating that they “do no harm”.

This loving motive is a generally accepted and unquestioned motive when procuring organs.

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