The Ethics to Die For

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Submitted by Anonymous Guest on Mon, 2010-12-20 15:50

Recently in South Africa number of medical professionals have been prosecuted and sentenced for heavy fines and suspended prison terms for performing completely legitimate medical procedure-kidney transplant. From the medical point of view the procedure was flawless; doctors’ crime was against the world-wide acceptable ethical rule-under any circumstances the recipient of the organ shouldn’t pay to the donor. Never mind that such a rule directly collides with the fundamental principle of medical ethics which is a principle of autonomy.

“The principle of autonomy stands for the proposition that an adult with capacity to decide has a full and perfect right to determine what may be done to his body.1 This is a right recognized in ethics, medical practice, and law. “

Medical ethics therefore recognize and accept the principle of one’s ownership on one own body which means that one can do whatever he pleases with any part of his body-he can donate or sell it if he whish. However, despite that organ donation from the living donor considered to be a great act of moral virtue, voluntary selling of organs is immoral and constitutes a criminal offense. The most cited reason for that is “the exploitation” of the poor and promotion of the organ’s black market, which is a killing of people and harvesting of their organs. But these arguments cannot withstand even brief examination. Organs’ black market is indeed a crime and should be treated as such. However nobody in his right mind would advocate the prohibition of money or any commodity because criminals kill people for them. In regard to the poor, if anything, blood or organ donation for money can only improve their condition. The real implicit and often explicit reason for the prohibition of organs’ selling is that such an action is selfish, for profit and therefore contradicts the “noble” altruistic nature of selfless organs or blood donation. The other reason is that free market for organs would eliminate the government monopoly on the organ transplantation as it stipulated by the National Organ Transplant Act (Congress 1984) which outlawed the commercial trade of organs. Government also established the "United Network for Organ Sharing," as the country's monopoly provider of organs. In other words, government took on itself the power which previously has been ascribed only to omnipotent God-literary the power to control life and death. The last but not the least reason is egalitarianism. The argument is that only rich people could afford organs on the free market and the poor, therefore will be discriminated. In other words, if everybody cannot be saved, then it is moral and just that we all rather shoud perish together. Such an altruist morality is really to die for.

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