Organ Donation after Assisted Death: Research Outline
- Euthanasia, also known as mercy killing, has recently made headlines especially in Belgium where the regulations are permissive. Many terminally ill patients are increasingly seeking the services in the country despite its emotive and controversial nature. More controversial is when the organs of such individuals are donated. For medical practitioners, euthanasia and subsequent organ donation after assisted death present ethical dilemma (Kirby, 2016).
Despite the controversies associated with assisted death or euthanasia, it widely practiced across the globe and especially in Belgium for a variety of reasons (Elaine, 2014).
- Assisted death or euthanasia can be resorted to by terminally ill patients for various reasons.
- Severe case of depression for cancer patients can lead doctors and loved ones to resort to euthanasia as a last resort for the patient.
- Patients in prolonged vegetative state with no hope recovery
- Severe and unrelenting pain due to untreatable injuries to vital organs such as the brain and spinal cord
- Organs donated by individuals who have died through euthanasia can used in a wide variety of ways.
- They can be used in organ transplant and hence save and prolong lives especially for those who cannot afford the high cost of organs (Detry et al, 2008).
- They can also be used for research to study various diseases and disorders including cancer especially if the donor died of these diseases (Cook, 2016).
- Opinion and Conclusion
- Euthanasia and subsequent organ donation are increasingly becoming commonplace within the field of medicine. Advancement in technology has enabled successful and safe organ harvesting for assisted death cases. However, it is still a controversial issue with various ethical dilemmas.
- Despite the ethical dilemmas associated with organ donation in cases of assisted deaths, the organs can be used in saving lives and prolonging the lives of others instead of being cremated or buried.
Cook, M. (2016 Apr. 2). Everybody’s a winner when euthanasia combines with organ donation, say doctors. Bio Edge. Retrieved from: https://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/everybodys-a-winner-when-euthanasia-combines-with-organ-donation-say-d1/11814
Detry, O. et al. (2008). Organ donation after physician-assisted death. Transplant International, 21(9): 915
Elaine, C. (2014). Organ Donation After Assisted Suicide: Practically and Ethically Challenging. Transplantation, 98(3): pp. 252–253.
Kirby, J. (2016). Organ donation after assisted death: Is it more or less ethically-problematic than donation after circulatory death? Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy, 19(4), 629-635. doi.org/10.1007/s11019-016-9711-8