HLSC 220 HEALTH CARE ETHICS
ASSIGNMENT 1 Argumentative Essay Weighting: 50%
Length and/or format: 1500 words (+/- 10%)
Purpose: The purpose of this assessment is for students to demonstrate the capacity to develop an ethical argument/s based on the four ethical principles: autonomy, justice, beneficence, and non-maleficence. Students will use their allocated topic to develop a sound ethical argumentative opinion piece.
Assignment details: During the 1st week of lectures your tutor will allocate a topic for discussion from the prescribed four options. Using the allocated topic given to you construct an argumentative essay.
Learning outcomes assessed: 1 & 2
Assessment criteria: Marking will be undertaken using a rubric (see Appendix 1 in your unit outline). Please include the word count of your assignment on the front page of your assignment or in a header. Please note that in-text citations are included in the word count whilst the reference list is not included in the word count. Words that are more than 10% over the word count will not be considered Please see further information in the section titled ‘Word Count’ in your unit outline.
Organ Retrieval Should be Performed on All Deceased Persons Despite Objections From Loved Ones
Organ donation has been a topic of debate for a long time, irrespective of how it can help save lives. Donating organs has a lot of ethics involved, and many a time, ethics get flouted due to which organ donations are low, and objections have risen from the loved ones. Organ donation is a boon to so many people who have been waiting years for that organ, yet due to red tape or non-systemic processes have made people sceptical. There is also the fear of trafficking and transplant tourism, which is making organ donation lucrative trade for some nefarious parties involved (GFI, 2017)
This essay discusses various aspects of organ donation or retrieval. This discussion gives an insight into the social problem of organ retrieval in deceased persons without taking into consideration the consent of the loved ones.
In the present scenario, globally, organ donation has ethical and policy considerations along with consent laws. Several countries have default law for the individual to donate the organs unless specifically stating otherwise. It has to be known that ethics involving organ donation has to be systematic as well as recommended concepts which defend the right as well wrongs on organ donation. If this doesn’t happen, the welfare of society is undermined. The prevailing consent laws aren’t conducive, and the laws regarding the process have to alter. New policies and strategies should replace the archaic laws that govern and undermine the entire organ donation process (Dalal, 2015).
Although governments are trying hard in Australia has a substantially low rate in organ donation (ANZOD, 2019). Low rate of donation may be significant because it is an ethical issue which involves various apprehensions. Globally, countries use two models of organ retrieval from the deceased. One model emphasizes the needs of the society and states that the organ of deceased can be of utmost benefit for the society, and the government may recover the organ from the deceased body even without prior permission from the person or the relatives.
The other model states that each individual has right on his organs and tissues. His organs are his property, and they can not be retrieved without his consent (Veatch & Ross, 2015). Various countries, like the US and Australia, practice this model. The model of “deceased organ recovery without explicit consent or authorization” was initially proposed in the United States in 1968 by Dukeminier and Sanders(Dukeminier& Sanders, 1968).
Since technology has evolved, people can now retrieve organs of the brain dead persons. After the complete death, most of the organs rendered are useless for harvesting. Brain-dead persons are ideal candidates if they possess healthy organs suitable for donation, can be harvested and used for transplant, and help save many lives (Manara& Thomas, 2020). But this can be done with the due permission from the loved ones.
Along with technological advancements, governments are also trying hard to enhance the contribution of people in organ donation. In Australia, a major step was taken in 2008 when the Rudd Labor Government declared a reform in this field. The government proposed a national reform package which was aimed to ascertain that Australia has a major contribution to organ donation on the global platform ( Roxon & Rudd, 2008).
Even after so much of efforts, organ donation isn’t happening effectively and a significant lack of organs that match and get to the right recipient. While extensive efforts are made globally to increase public understanding of the process of deceased organ donation, data suggest that the deceased and living donor rates are still very low.
One of the most important points in support of the donation model is that the organs belong to the individual and ethically, he has all right to take the decision. Hence organ donation is the choice of the person or his/her loved ones, and if they choose not to donate, coercing the person would be against ethical obligations (Fabre, 2014). The oath of the medical practitioners also states that the good of the patient should be placed before his/ her benefit. It is one of the fundamental value systems that is initiated by every medical professional.
Other important ethical rules came into play when deciding on the organ donation that took place after the circulatory and respiration function stopped functioning for two minutes. In this case, the medical practitioner got to remove the viable organs according to the patient’s wish or by the loved ones. Here the legitimacy of the decisions came into play, and real and perceived conflicts of interest came to the fore. Every patient has the right to end of life care apart from the need to procure the organs, so whether the quality of end of life care gets diminished in a hurry to get organs from the patient’s body is where the ethics question comes up again ( Rodriguez et al., 2010).
Another ethically significant rule is that, when recovering the organs from the patient’s body, it should not be the cause of death. If the ethics are followed, there is a right for the loved ones to file an objection.
Then the debate continues for the implicit consent, which is believed that morally it would be right for the greater good of the society. Whereas, the barometer ethics lies on the person if he/she is unwilling to do so is immoral as per the ethicists. However, some countries have gone on to work on retrieving organs through presumed consent and have a better organ donation repository than other countries who are stuck in the morality debate.
For popularising presumed consent, there has to be a comprehensive program in place to get the people aware of the significance of organ donation. The government can use various platforms to educate and communicate with people. The public should have a clear picture of how the entire process is carried out with the utmost transparency. The healthcare workers ranging from the intensive care doctors, anesthesiologists to transplant co-ordinators all work in tandem for the organ donation to be taking place successfully. The health care professional can also advise the person or the loved ones and leave the decision( Dominguez et al., 2017). So there are chances of opt-in or opt-out because even if the patient may agree, the family or loved ones may veto the consent( Shepherd et al., 2014).
Certain communities and religions refrain from registering or agreeing to donate the organs of the deceased person because it against their sentiments to mutilate the boy in any form before the burial or cremation. Hence a lot of organs go to waste. Recently, governments have made certain changes to assure the religious beliefs of people. (NHS Organ Donor Register,2018).
The number of organ and tissue donors has increased. Along with it, the number of people who need the donated organ has also increased. Numerous countries in Asia, Europe, and Scandinavia have stringent laws retrieval of organs from the deceased ( Rithalia et al., 2010; Shepherd et al., 2014).
The government can also focus on steps to motivate people to donate organs. It might also include reimbursements and financial gains. The ethicists have a point that financial incentives make the drive the loved ones to agree for donating the organs, or the dying person may think that his/ her loved ones will be reimbursed. That is why they should donate organs. If this the driving point for donations, then ethically, it isn’t right. Still, it is the only way to get more people to donate, and many countries are using this ploy along with financial help, tax rebate, long term healthcare provisions, employment, etc.
Finally, we can say that after going through deliberations of the ethicists and the dilemma of the common man that objections have to be considered before organs are being harvested. Organ donation is necessary, and it can help save so many lives, but it can be carried out if the person who wants to donate his/her organs or the loved ones consent willingly(IHI, 2016). Going against someone’s will could lead to legal repercussions, and perhaps the healthcare system would have to rake up compensation. There could have other consequences like stripping the certification to harvest organs. The healthcare official can have a go at convincing them of the organ donation program and how it is carried with proper emphasis on transparency.
Shortage of organ is an important issue which needs to be addressed (Girlanda, 2016). Some special counsellors are doing the job of convincing the loved ones or the patients because the people who have lost their loved ones would be in shock, anger, and a range of emotions. They wouldn't be able to make decisions properly because of the frame of mind they are. It could sometimes get the loved ones to have a change of heart but coercing them to change, or without their knowing harvesting, the organs would be an utter failure of ethical obligations according to for the functioning of healthcare systems.