Policy Proposal on Organ Donation

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Policy proposal on organ donation

The idea of human organ transplantation is an old one, however,practical and successful translation took place in the twentiethcentury (MacDonald, 2014). In the contemporary medical practice,human organ donation, sale and trade is one of the most pertinentissues. Given that many people benefit greatly from beingbeneficiaries of the organs, the demand has skyrocketed over the pastfew decades. This increase in organ business has led to emergence ofseveral issues, ranging from technical, ethical and social matters,and has formed debate amongst medical experts and other concernedstakeholders in human organs donation, sale and trade. As such,several laws and regulations have been formulated to govern thepractice and safeguard the interests of both the donors andreceivers. However, not all issues have been addressedsatisfactorily. This paper is an argumentative proposal addresses theissue of ethics in the practice and proposes justifiable solutions tothe problem related.

Justificationof selection of the ethical issue:

In modern medical practice, organ donation is legalized bypractically all governments in the world. However, just as a numberof other medical procedures, organ transplantation initiates debatestouching on ethics and morality (Kornfield, 2014). This problem risesmainly when the organ in question belongs to a human being. When itcomes to a point that someone is in dire need of a human organ, itmeans that time becomes a critical factor in life and death. Duringthis critical period, there may arise some ethical issues, which maytake a legal turn at any time. This means that the patient’s lifeis unnecessarily put on the edge. However, if these ethical issuesare addressed in time, there will not be wastage of time in savingthe patient’s life. As such, there is a need to address the ethicsissue and formulate solutions, which is the essence of this paper.


One of the major problem in organ donation is the issue of criteriafor selection of beneficiaries (MacDonald, 2014). In the organtransplant practice, there is a serious shortage of organs which arereadily available for donation. This is one of the social issues thatare addressed by the concept of rationing of a limited resource.Rationing of limited resources, including organs and tissues, is aneveryday health care occurrence. This presents surgeons andphysicians with challenging ethical dilemmas. The dilemmas that thephysicians and surgeons face include the beneficiaries of the organs,the age of the beneficiaries, consequences of transferring an organto a certain patient and the perceived social relevance of therecipient. For example, some maintain that a child may takepreference over an adult when it comes to organ donation. However, itis considered that the adult’s life is, at the same time, asimportant as that of the child.

Thescale of the problems is of alarming levels. For instance, inAustralia alone, there were more than 1800 patients waiting for anurgent organ transplant in the year 2012 alone (Harwood et al, 2013).It is almost impossible to calculate the exact global figure, giventhat the statistics and logistics keep changing every day.Nevertheless, there are a number of deaths that occur each week dueto lack of an organ, or yet still, shortage of the same. At the sametime, the rate of organ donation does not increase with the rate oforgan demand. The same is also affected by other ethical issues suchas donor qualification and government regulations. This means thatthe surgeons and physicians have to depend on the limited number oforgans, and yet, at the same time, make ethical decisions regardingthe possible beneficiaries of the same. As argued earlier, this leadsto unnecessary deaths, which within the context of logical practice,can be solved.

Manymedical professions have faulted some of the solutions that have beenproposed in the organ donation practice, as regards to the ethicalmatter being addressed in this paper. One of the widely used criteriais the selection of beneficiaries on the basis of those who need itmore and those who are most likely to benefit the most. However, asPetechuk (2006) asserts, this is based on some assumptions which makelogical judgment a challenge. The proponents of selection criterionhold that it would not make any sense to give the much-coveted organto someone who would anyway die even after receiving it, and leaveout someone who would live longer with it. However, there isdiscussion of how “benefit” is defined and assessed (Petechuk,2006). The expected length of survival logic is countered by theargument of the possibility of successful patient rehabilitation.


According to Robert Greene, one of the laws of power is that neverappeal to people based on emotions, rather their self-interest(Greene, 2000). When someone needs a favor, it is more effective toseek it by using other people’s self-interest, rather thandepending emotions to persuade them. As such, this paper proposesincreasing the rate of organ donation. The first way that this can bedone is prioritizing organ allocations based on the donor’swillingness. For instance, if two people are on an organ transplantwaitlist, and should they both qualify to be beneficiaries of theavailable organ, the medical practitioners have to consider theperson who had heretofore decided to be an organ donor. This isexpected to increase organ donor registration more than tenfold.

One of the factors that influence the low availability of organs inthe market is a lack of knowledge amongst the masses (Trzepacz &ampDiMartini, 2000). The problem therefore needs a logical evaluation ofmedical policies as a solution. Therefore, this paper proposesteaching people about the importance of organ donation would increaseawareness amongst them, and this will help increase the number ofavailable organs in the market. This is a collaborative effortbetween the medical practitioners and the government. On the otherhand, reflect on somebody who has a relative in serious need of akidney transplant. It is conceivable that this individual would notget a match from their own relatives. As such, one of the familymembers may volunteer donate one of their kidneys to a patient whoneeds it. By serving another patient on the waiting list, theirailing relative will be placed higher on their waiting list too. Thisis what Trzepacz &amp DiMartini (2000) terms as a “non-direct”donation, meaning that the relative has indirectly donated theirorgan to their loved one. This will intensely expand the pool ofeligible donors in the market, hence solving the ethical issue ofhaving to make hard decisions regarding organ transplant.

Justificationof solution

This proposal avoids decision-making which is biased and non-logical,which has been used in the field for a while now. The medicalpractitioners often make unethical decisions my using criteria suchas the patient’s social worth, merit or demerit, and potentialbenefits of the transplant. Regardless of the patient’s performanceon the above-listed criteria, it is not ethical to deny someone achance of life simply because they do not satisfy certainrequirements. Additionally, it has to be considered that the patientswould have scored better than their competitors if the variableswould be changed, for instance, social norms and geographicallocations. This selection criterion also demonstrates seriouselements of discrimination based on unjustified considerations, whichviolate the value of the equal poise of all human beings. As such,instead of going for selection criteria, increasing the number ofavailable organs for everyone would be the best solution.


In human organ transplantation, there are a number of issues whicharise. Ethical issues are one of the most pertinent in this context.This paper has identified the problem of organ shortage, whichcreates an ethical issue when it comes to selecting the possiblebeneficiaries. The shortage of the available organs has led tonumerous deaths each year, and the surgeons and physicians alwaysface dilemmas in selecting the recipients of the few availableorgans. One of the solutions that has been widely adopted is criteriaselection of the beneficiaries, based on a numerous factors such asage, social status and length of life after transplantation. However,this paper has faulted the solution, terming it unethical anddiscriminatory. As such, increasing the number of available organsfor mass education is proposed and justified.


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Kornfeld, D. S. (2014).Consultation-liaison psychiatry: contributions to medical practice.

Macdonald, H. (2014). ConsideringDeath: The Third British Heart Transplant, 1969.&nbspBulletinof the History of Medicine,&nbsp88(3),493-525.

Petechuk, D. (2006).&nbspOrgantransplantation.Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press. Greene,R. (2000).&nbspThe48 laws of power.Penguin.

Trzepacz, P. T., &amp DiMartini,A. F. (2000).&nbspThetransplant patient: Biological, psychiatric, and ethical issues inorgan transplantation.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.