HCA322: Health Care Ethics & Medical Law
Instructor: Susan Vellek
December 23, 2013
The ethical responsibility of mankind
In the medical field ethical questions arise in any situation revolving around life or death. What is the moral thing to do? Who decides? A situation such as Organ donations, arises the question; is it morally right or morally wrong to donate? Organ donation to some people think that is important or an obligation to donate a potential organ and some people think it is morally wrong, however there are those who are unclear what it pertains. The principle of this gift one gives is a way one person can save another through self-decision. The Objectives that organizations like UNOS has is "...to advance organ availability and transplantation by uniting and supporting its community for the benefit of patients through education, technology, and policy development." (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, N/A) Thousands of people die because of the lack of an organ. Organ donations has become an option for people who need an organ like a heart, liver, kidney, or even tissues. Organ donation or the lack of it, has become the problem in regards of saving one's life. (Pozgar, 2012) The ethical responsibility for mankind would be too act morally and in this case, becoming an organ donor can preserve a life. Ethical theories guide individuals or society to determine what is right and wrong in these situations. Some people are concerned that if they are a donor they are at risk, however most don't understand what the process of becoming an organ donor and/or the law that will protected it. Not knowing the facts can render a person's judgment and decision; if it is morally right or morally wrong to donate?
When a person has an organ that is at end stages of failing, according to U.S. National Library of Medicine, "Organ donation takes healthy organs and tissues from one person for transplantation into another. Experts say that the organs from one donor can save or help as many as 50 people." (Medline Plus, 2013) Useable organs that can be transplanted are internal organs such as the liver, heart, kidneys, pancreas, intestines and lungs. The skin is also used to help live patients that suffered through skin disease or burn victims. Bone and Bone Marrow are also used for patient such as cancer patients. Organ donation can come from a live or deceased person however most do come from a person after pronounced dead. All ages and background can become an organ donor however under age needs garden permission. (Medline Plus, 2013) Organ donation is in high demand however with the patients' right to deny, providers and any organization that associates with this part of the medical field have challenges to face.
Organ transplant has been a successful system since the 1954 when the first living human donated a kidney to his twin brother by Dr. Joseph Murray and Dr. David Hume at Brigham Hospital in Boston. In 1962, Dr. Joseph Murray and Dr. David Humes did another successful kidney transplant this time from a deceased donor. Since then, successful transplants were becoming more and more known by other doctors like Dr. James Hardy at the University of Mississippi Medical Center with a lung transplant in 1963. In 1966, Drs. Richard Lillehei and William Kelly at the University of Minnesota with a pancreas/Kidney transplant, Dr. Thomas Starzl at the University of Colorado with a liver transplant and Dr. Christian Barnard at Goote Schuur hospital in South Africa with a successful Heart transplant in 1966. In 1968, the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act was established. This act is to institute state laws of the donations of organs/tissues from the deceased. The Uniform Donor Card was created to document the consent a person give to legally donate his or her organs at death. (New York Organ Donor Network, 2012) In other words, a person has control weather or not what is done to their bodies after death including donating your organs.