Ethical Issues in Organ Donation

The history of organ donation

The subject of organ donation is considered to be a noble deed these days. But if we try to highlight the history of this practice, we might observe it to be highly controversial and subject to a number of questions. There are few serious issues that are indirectly or directly linked with organ donation that will discourage you to donate an organ even after passing the terminal stage.

History was made during the 1950s when the first case of a successful human kidney transplant took place. Things went smoothly for some time but by the late 1960s, things went wrong in various ways. It happened because of the insufficient progress made by medical science in the same field. Dr Christiaan Barnard successfully achieved the first heart transplantation on a patient in South Africa in the year 1967. But it didn’t work out in the first attempt as the patient died within a few weeks. Several religious institutes even considered it a sin against the Lord and mankind. As a result, several heart transplant facilities were closed in different parts of the world. It was only a bit later that it was discovered that the patient may have died due to the physiological rejection the transplanted heart had to endure.

Is organ donation ethical in nature?

Well, it is certainly a matter of debate! If we talk from the viewpoint of the current aspects then there are many associated ethical issues with organ transplants. Due to its life saving competency, it is always a matter of debate that some people receive successful transplant on time, while other die waiting for the same. If we highlight the organ donation facts then we will find that on average 74 people receive life saving transplants of organ each day. It is unfortunate but true that nearly 19 people die every day due to the lack of a timely delivery system for the donated organ.

The cases associated with ‘brain death’ and comatose are also ethical issues for debate. There were accusations on several medical institutes in the past that despite of little hope for recovery, major organs were donated from the bodies of these patients.

Another major issue of concern is the fiscal exploitation of the organ donors. If we talk from the perspective of the African and Indian subcontinent, then it is quite true that the donors usually are financially poor and people receiving the organs are wealthy in terms of background. Still, these poor people normally do not get the right price of their donation.

The right measures

By strengthening the organ donation laws, it is certainly feasible to get the best results. There are several recognized organizations and bodies dedicated to the medical services that can ensure adherence to all the ethical issues connected with organ transplants. It is essential to eliminate the role of intermediates and dealers in the hospitals so that the poor organ donors can receive the right price for their donated body parts.

As far as the lack of availability of organs is concerned, organ cloning is feasible to remove the scarcity of transplantable organs. Some good research is taking place on a continuous basis, more importantly, it is anticipated that there will be positive results in this area in the future.

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