By Chiru Murage
Increasing medical advances have an unforeseen consequence: the supply for organ donations is increasingly outrunning the demand. In this article, Wesley J. Smith discusses a new and contested idea that would hypothetically increase the number of organ donations.
This idea has surfaced in Clinical Ethics (201 3 Volume 8 Number I) in which it is proposed that awake and conscious ICU patients are asked to harvest organs, as opposed to only harvesting organs at death if the patient has indicated that he wishes to in his will. The reasoning goes that this is not too far from what is already done if we already harvest organs after death, and withdraw life sustaining measures in unconscious patients.
On the one hand, this new method of asking conscious patients to donate their organs should hypothetically raise the supply of organ donors to organ recipients. On the other hand, however, this article cautions that there are “few things more dangerous to the weak and vulnerable than to allow people having trouble going on believe that their deaths have greater value than their lives…[or] letting society thing the same” (Wesley J. Smith). There is clearly a crisis in organ donation; countless patients die waiting on the list for transplant, and access to health insurance and ample funds may play bigger roles in how quickly one gets a transplant. But is this the solution for the organ donation crisis, or do others lie still unexplored?
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