Scarcity of Medical Resources
For this assessment, you will continue your survey of ethical principles in health care. Especially in our contemporary world, where needs for health care outstrip available resources, we regularly face decisions about who should get which resources.
There is a serious shortage of donor organs. Need vastly outstrips supply, due not only to medical advances related to organ transplantation, but also because not enough people consent to be cadaveric donors (an organ donor who has already died). Munson (2014) points out that in the United States, approximately 10,000 patients die each year because an organ donor was not available, which is three times the number of people killed in the terrorist attacks on 9/11.
But what is an efficient and morally sound solution to this problem? The policy of presumed consent, where enacted, has scarcely increased supply, and other alternatives, such as allowing donors to sell their organs, raise strong moral objections. In light of this, some have advocated for a policy of conscription of cadaveric organs (Spital & Erin, 2002). This involves removing organs from the recently deceased without first obtaining consent of the donor or his or her family. Proponents of this policy argue that conscription would not only vastly increase the number of available organs, and hence save many lives, but that it is also more efficient and less costly than policies requiring prior consent. Finally, because with a conscription policy allpeople would share the burden of providing organs after death and allwould stand to benefit should the need arise, the policy is fair and just.
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Demonstration of Proficiency
By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and scoring guide criteria:
- Competency 1: Articulate ethical issues in health care.
- Articulate the moral concerns surrounding a policy of organ conscription.
- Articulate questions about the fairness and justness of organ conscription policy.
- Explain the relevance and significance of the concept of consent as it pertains to organ donation.
- Evaluate alternative policies for increasing available donor organs.
- Competency 5: Communicate in a manner that is scholarly, professional, and respectful of the diversity, dignity, and integrity of others and is consistent with health care professionals.
- Exhibit proficiency in clear and effective academic writing skills.
Munson, R. (2014). Intervention and reflection: Basic issues in bioethics (concise ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth.
Spital, A., & Erin, C. (2002). Conscription of cadaveric organs for transplantation: Let’s at least talk about it. American Journal of Kidney Disease, 39(3), 611–615.
Do you consider the policy of organ conscription to be morally sound?
Write a paper that answers this question, defending that answer with cogent moral reasoning and supporting your view with ethical theories or moral principles you take to be most relevant to the issue. In addition to reviewing the suggested resources, you are encouraged to locate additional resources in the Capella library, your public library, or authoritative online sites to provide additional support for your viewpoint. Be sure to weave and cite the resources throughout your work.
In your paper, address the following:
- On what grounds could one argue that consent is not ethically required for conscription of cadaveric organs? And on what grounds could one argue that consent is required?
- Is the policy truly just and fair, as supporters claim? Explain.
- Do you consider one of the alternative policies for increasing available donor organs that Munson discusses to be preferable to conscription? Explain why or why not.