Organ Donation

1460 Words6 Pages
In a world where life expectancy has increased tremendously over the last century because of new technology and medical procedures, we find humanity ever pushing the boundaries on what it can do to prevent loss of life where possible. One example is the area of organ donation and transplantation. However, unlike many other technologies or procedures which can be built, manufactured, or learned, organ transplantation requires one thing that we can’t create yet: an organ itself. Because our increased life span causes more people to require a replacement organ when theirs starts to fail, the demand has far outrun the supply and the future only looks to get worse. “Between the years 1988 and 2006 the number of transplants doubled, but the number of patients waiting for an organ grew six times as large.” (Orentlicher, 2009) Clearly our need for organs is growing much faster than what is available. So in an effort to catch up to demand, proposals that have surfaced which have brought about much debate are whether compensation should be given for donation. By looking at the issue through a lens of utilitarianism and virtue ethics, we can find a way to help the most people while still allowing both donors and recipients to maintain the dignity of their personhood. In this paper, I will argue that donating one’s organs in exchange for compensation is indeed ethical as long as such exchange is regulated carefully.
A case study of a woman, Ruth Sparrow, following an expensive surgery in Florida in 1997 exemplifies the issue of organ compensation. After the surgery she offered the hospital one of her functioning kidneys in exchange for payment of her surgery. However, the hospital turned her down. Instead she then put an ad in a lo...

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