Ethical Health Care Issues Paper
July 28, 2014
In the last decade, the debate over the ethics of organ and transplant allocation has intensified and the attention sensationalized in the media. At the core of this issue, critical questions remain. They include but are not limited to those regarding economics, race, and geographic inequity and about the moral relevance and weight of geography, economics, and other disparities and inequities in transplant allocation (Stanford University, 2012). Transplant allocation raises questions regarding the four of the basic major ethical principles of medical ethics: autonomy, beneficence, justice and ...view middle of the document...
As such, the principle then also requires that health care providers develop and maintain the needed skills and knowledge, that they continuously update training and educational courses, consider individual circumstances of each and every patient, and strive to maximize the benefits as healthy and positive as possible (SU, 2012).
The principle of justice is grounded in the idea that the burdens and benefits of new or experimental treatments must be distributed equally among all groups in society. Therefore, as it relates to transplant allocation, the allocation or access to organs should be a fair process and not one in which 'the highest and wealthiest bidder gets the organ transplant or the mere fact of only the rich have access to health insurance. That is not justice fair or equitable distribution of healthcare and in this case transplant allocation (Childress, 2001). The principle requires that transplant allocation and procedures uphold the spirit of existing laws and are fair to all players involved. As such, the health care provider must consider the four main areas when evaluating justice: fair distribution of scarce resources, competing needs, rights and obligations, and potential conflicts with established legislation (SU, 2012).
This principle requires that a transplant procedure does not intentionally or maliciously bring unanticipated harm to the patient, donor or others involved in the process. Surgeons operate under the assumption that they are doing little to no harm by pursuing the greater good. However, overall desired outcomes must be facilitated through the careful monitoring especially since transplant allocation can be inequitable, unfair and even the procedures do fail and can affect the emotional state of the patient. In some extreme cases, sometimes it is difficult for doctors successfully to do no harm principle (SU.2012).
Transplant allocation often has a ripple effect as Burdick(2005) asserts: "Because there are not enough donated organs, all patients and practitioners are bound together by a community of medicine principle: whenever a patient receives a transplant, it diminishes the chance that other potential recipients will be able to receive this gift of life in time to save them."(275). Other very sad and disturbing well-known facts include but are not limited to: although through organ transplants many people have been helped and given a new 'lease on life,' a growing number of transplant candidates suffer and die waiting for life-enhancing or life-saving...