Organ transplantation (OT) is a means for saving lives and restoring the health of patients, and the rules of OT implementation should be based on respect for legislation and individual human rights. The decisions in favor of OT should be made inconsistency with humanitarian principles enshrined by the international community and with the consideration of ethical values and the interests of the people involved in the situation.
specifically for you
for only $16.05 $11/page
At the same time, according to the utilitarian principles of decision making suggested by John Stuart Mill, the compliance with ethical values provides the opportunity to create “an existence exempt as far as possible from pain, and as rich as possible in enjoyments” for all human beings (par. 12). Thus, during the ethical decision-making process, it is important to consider the concept of equal welfare for all people and the common good principle in order to conceive the best possible decision and achieve a positive and morally acceptable outcome.
Living donor or human cadaver OT can be implemented only in case other medical instruments cannot guarantee the preservation of organ recipient’s life and restoration of his health.
OT inevitably raises the ethical issues which cannot be answered with sufficient evidence and intrinsically entail intellectual and moral controversies because, either way, the invasive procedure can cause suffering to one of the parties. Moreover, it provokes multiple health risks and does not necessarily guarantee health restoration. Thus, to avoid various complications, physicians need to evaluate all potential methods of health intervention prior to the selection of OT.
According to the generalized view of benefit suggested by Jeremy Bentham, the utility of a decision or an object can be defined by its ability to produce advantages, pleasure, and happiness or prevent suffering and pain (par. 5). Therefore, in accordance with the utilitarian approach and in pursuit of suffering prevention, in case another option of medical treatment exists, it will be appropriate to choose it instead of OT.
Compliance with the principle of informed consent is the legal and ethical basis for the initiation of OT procedures. Organ removals from a living donor can be administered only in case his/her informed consent is obtained. In the case of human cadaver OT, it is important to consider the consent given by a donor’s relatives, and if it is known that a donor’s legal representatives are against organ removal, then OT from the given donor cannot be regarded as an ethical option.
Although according to the Greatest Happiness Principle, the common good can be achieved only when the pursuit to fulfill the egoistic personal needs will be reduced in order to achieve higher pleasure for the whole humanity (Mill par. 12), it is unethical to force a living person to become an organ donor. Ethically acceptable OT is grounded in the principles of volunteerism because by forcing a person’s decision, one contributes to his/her unhappiness and, in this way, goes against the utilitarian approach in ethical decision making.
100% original paper
on any topic
done in as little as
Based on this, the consent for OT administration should be received from a recipient as well. A recipient must be warned about the possible health complications which can be caused by the upcoming surgery. If a recipient is underage, the consent of his/her caregivers is required. However, the principle of informed consent can be violated (with respect to a human cadaver donor or a recipient) in exceptional emergency cases when the delay in surgery administration can threaten the life of an organ recipient. At this rate, the whole responsibility for taking an action rests with a physician.
According to the principles of utilitarianism, any action and decision can be estimated only by its consequences (Mosser 14). Therefore, in their decision-making process, physicians need to evaluate the potential outcomes of action and analyze if a decision has a potential to fulfill the needs of the community and ensures the development of benefits for a vast number of people.
It is important to evaluate the potential health damages that can be caused to a recipient or a living donor by organ removal and OT. Hence, organ removal should not induce irreversible health problems in a living donor. Moreover, it is necessary to be sure that a transplantable organ carrier was not exposed to a dangerous disease that may threaten a recipient’s life. Thus, organ removal from a living or a cadaver donor can be carried out only with the consideration of both parties’ interests.
In decision making targeting the issues of transplantable organ supply, a physician plays a role of a “public benefactor” who strives to contribute to virtue development and achieve the most beneficial outcomes in each particular situation (Mill par. 23). According to Mill, although virtue can be perceived as a good in itself, it is only a means to achieve common good (par. 18). A physician who follows the ethical principles of utilitarianism thus should be considered a virtuous man contributing to the development of others’ happiness and the prevention of their suffering.
Bentham, Jeremy. “Principles of Morals and Legislation (1780).” Harvard University’s Justice with Michael Sandel, 2011.
Mill, John Stuart. “Utilitarianism. Chapter 2: What Utilitarianism Is.” BLTC, n.d.
Mosser, Kurt. Ethics and social responsibility. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, 2013. Print.