An Overview of Organ Transplantation and the Moral and Ethical Principles Behind the Medical Process

Many people believe that organ transplants are a thing of only the present, that they used to not be a prevalent thing. But they’re wrong, it‘s been used since at least as far back as 3000 BC. We’ve discovered evidence of using skin to reconstruct body parts that far back Images if mythical monsters with various animal’s body parts suggested that they were also capable of transplant surgeries Even sources like the bible have stories of body parts being transplanted from one body to another.

In ancient times, teeth transplants were also very common. One case of importance was in the 3’E1 century, where the Roman surgeons transplanted the leg of a dead Ethiopian onto a roman soldier who had been badly injured. These experiments with transplantation in early times have made it easier for science to expand on the topic nowadays. We‘ve since learned of blood types as well as the human immune system.

This is imperative because in early times, these transplants usually involved the donor body rejecting the tissue More recently, we’ve seen cases where recipients need hearts, lungs, or kidneys in order to live.

Because most humans can function and survive with only one kidney, we’ve been able to take organs from live donors in some cases. However, there is a lot of need for kidneys out there and living donors cannot fill the demand for kidney transplants Therefore, we had to step into the territory of deceased donors. They‘ve been used for kidneys as well as other organs such as the ones listed above We started to see issues when donors were dead for too long, and the organs began to deteriorate because of the lack of oxygen getting to the organ.

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This being said, harvesting organs from hosts that are considered brain dead can raise some concerns, Is the person completely dead or is their brain suffering while they’re still alive?

This brings in the issue of people in a coma, a vegetative state, or permanently unconscious people, Is it acceptable to harvest organs from these people? What makes one qualify as completely brain dead? Mr. Jones, thirty years old, is in the intensive care unit, lying in bed, breathing only with the assistance of a respirator. He looks normal, and he feels warm to the touch. This being said, he does look healthier than many of the other patients in the unit He has just recently been diagnosed as “brain dead.” Two very important ethical questions come up with respect to Mr? Jones: Is he really dead, or is he a living patient with traumatic brain injury? Is it morally acceptable to retrieve his organs for donation to patients in need of transplantation?‘ One major moral principle concerning taking organs from the deceased is whether or not they gave permission to donate their organs after they‘ve died, Surgeons can ask permission from relatives, but was that the will of the donor?

Another major issue is how do you adequately distribute the donated organs in a fair manner to meet the demands? For every person that is the recipient of a lifesaving transplant, there are at least tens of people who didn‘t get that exact same transplant, What criteria should be used to determine who get transplants first? There are many differing opinions on the topics Proponents of the equal access criteria of distribution argue that organs should be distributed based on length of time someone has been on the waiting list and age. Supporters of Equal distribution believe that organ transplantation is a valuable medical procedure and worth offering to those people who really need it. They also think that everyone should be able to access it equally, regardless of any other circumstances.

The equal access theory promotes a distribution process for transplantable organs that is free of biases based on race, sex, income level and geographic distance from the organ} Some of the proponents of this system also believe that the distribution of organs should be free of any prejudices of social or medical “worthiness.” These prejudices wouldjudge someone based on their position in society and take that into account when deciding if they should receive an organ, Medical prejudices on the other hand, factor in the person‘s medical condition It takes into account whether or not their condition is a result of their lifestyle choices, pushing them father down on the wait list if that was indeed the case Another common View of distribution is known as maximum benefit.

They aim to maximize the number of successful transplants by prioritizing those that are the sickest, And by using the transplants on those that with a successful transplant, have the longest post»operation life expectancy People that subscribe to this philosophy thing that organ transplants are procedures that are extremely medically valuable, and they aim to avoid wasting them by using them on those with which they will have the most successt2 Today in the United States, programs with transplants are expected to allocate them to patients based on the criteria of medical need, success probability, and time on the waiting list. The demand for organ transplants recently grew and with it, the number of operations grew as well.

The need for a system to preserve organs until transplant surgery could be performed grew as well Detrimental to the acquisition of needed organs is the competition from other transplant programs for each individual organi Organ procurement organizations (OPO) serve the transplant program in a specific transplant hospital. The federal government has places certain rules on these organizations in order to control them, These include using professional education and a system to determine the process of acquiring organ tissues for transplant. OPO’s are regulated by many government agencies across the country, they are required to abide by the highest medical and ethical standards. Via collaboration and distribution of successful practices, OPO‘s are able to excel in the industry. They utilize the newest and best technology to ease medical advancements that place transplants in the bodies of those who need them These organizations give hope to thousands of Americans in need of organ transplants.

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An Overview of Organ Transplantation and the Moral and Ethical Principles Behind the Medical Process. (2023, May 15). Retrieved from

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