|Type of paper:
|Surgery Ethical dilemma Social responsibility Social issue
With the advancement in knowledge and improvement in technology witnessed in the recent past, human civilization is experiencing changes that are both positive and negative. Modernism is resulting in a revolution, particularly, improvement in medical knowledge is revolutionizing the medical field. One particular revolution in medical practice is the improvement in the safe transplantation of diverse human organs, which is significant in saving the lives of many people around the world (Beyar, 2011). Moreover, the quality of people's life has been improved due to transplantation procedures to promote health. However, there are various mechanisms by which an organ becomes available for a transplant which necessarily may not be ethical, but dangerous to human beings. Accordingly, making organs available for transplantation through sale, trade, or donation is disastrous and poses challenges to cohesion in society.
Challenges Posed by Organ Transplantation
First, the entire procedure of organ transplantation in itself is risky from both the perspective of the donor and recipient. The challenge arises when compatibility is not realized. Hence the donor loses and organ, whereas the recipient may suffer from immune responses arising from organ rejection. Some of the immune responses leading to the rejection of organs are severe, which may lead to the death of the recipient. With that regards, as much as technological improvements have made medical operations efficient, some are still not a hundred percent safe, for instance, organ transplants.
The dangers associated with organ transplantation has made surgeons result in the private donation of live organs due to their relative safety for both the donor and recipient. In such situations, both recipient has been reported to make a full recovery following the organ transplantation procedure. Risky organ transplantation procedure resulting in the loss of life is disastrous to society. During instances when the recipient, who is the sole breadwinner, loses their life, it is their immediate family who suffers as their socioeconomic status is affected.
Secondly, the sale and trade of human organs for transplantation is well regulated hence resulting in various undercover movements in the black market. These undercover sales and trade of human organs are achieved in the black market where it is not visible in the public domain. According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), there is an increase in the number of activities involving the trade of human organs in the last decade, contrary to the law in place (Shimazono, 2007). Increasingly, people get involved in these trade activities without full knowledge of the health concerns, which are as consequence. For instance, during the year 2010, a record number of human organs were traded for transplantation. These various human organs are recorded to be approximately 10,000 whose sale was conducted in the black market. Breaking down the statistics about the illegal sale of human organs, it results in an organ traded per hour.
Thirdly, the increased need and the resulting financial value of human organs has led to an increase of criminal activities in society. For instance, there is a massive kidnapping of potential donors whose organs are considered prime and healthy for transplant. These individuals include children and teenagers who are kidnapped and afterward found murdered, having some parts of their body missing. Such commonly harvested organs by criminals include; the kidneys, eyes, and liver which are illegally traded for financial benefit. These criminals may also use deceptive techniques to lure their victims into a trap, whereby they are kidnapped. The rise of kidnappings to acquire human organs can be attributed to poverty as experienced in society. Therefore, people are willing to get involved in murder crimes with the intention of harvesting live human organs which are traded in exchange for financial value. Also, unethical medical practitioners may get involved in the illegal harvesting of a patient's organs without their knowledge. This illegal harvesting of organs usually occurs during surgical operations when the patient is unconscious, yet there is no third party to look after their wellbeing. Such unethical conduct by healthcare practitioners has been increasingly reported in developing countries. However, there are some cases recorded in the United States in the past decade.
The fourth challenge is that the demand for human transplantation organs is exceeding the available supply. In this case, the recipients' are less as compared to the donors; for instance, only 16 percent of individuals in the United States requiring kidney transplant are privileged to receive it. Moreover, during the year 2000, approximately 2500 American citizens perished while on the waiting list for kidney transplantation. The global index of the lives lost in the waiting list is recorded to be approximately 50,000 (Vagefi, Dodge, Markmann, & Roberts, 2014). The waiting list is determined to be very long; for instance, in the United States, the number of patients awaiting transplants at a particular time is recorded to be 60,000 (Hippen, 2010). That forces many patients to be put in the waiting list with the hope of receiving an organ in due time. However, that is not usually the case as a significant number of patients perish without receiving the transplant. Statistics show about 79 patients are privileged to receive transplants, whereas 22 patients die on the waiting list every day (DCI Donor Services, 2019). According to the research by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 300,000 American citizens are suffering from renal disease in the last stage. The last stage of renal disease is characterized by the total failure in the functioning of kidneys, hence the only possible means of survival is through kidney transplantation. With the rising demand for transplants, there has been overcharging of the limited available organs, which leads to financial toxicity as experienced by patients.
There are several laws and policy formulations that can be put into place to curb the exploitative and illegal trade of human organs. For instance, there should be stringent laws which stop the direct sale of human organs from one person to another without the involvement of a regulatory body. The direct sale of human organs is what leads to exploitative activities which are done away from the public domain. Also, trade and sale of human organs should be limited to a specified geopolitical location. That is an area set aside which is certified to conduct the sale of organs from the donor's to the recipient's side. The residents of that specific geopolitical area are the one involved in buying and selling of human organs. Moreover, the geopolitical area is under the watch of regulatory bodies that ensure no exploitative or illegal activities take place during the trade of human organs. For instance, the creation of a central regulatory body would be responsible for overseeing the operations involving the trade of human organs, ensuring ethical standards are upheld. In such cases, the central body ensures equitable distribution of transplantations organs not only to the rich but the needy people in the society.
With that regards, the regulatory bodies should consider putting in place stringent measures which would ensure these arising criminal activities from organ sale is checked. For instance, the government of the United States should consider checking these criminal activities as they have a negative bearing on some projects initiated by the governmental organizations, for instance, the insurance reimbursement, and Medicare. Therefore, as a regulatory measure, the government should ensure the donors are fully aware and in consent to the action of giving out their organs. Accordingly, the donors should not be forced to donate their body parts unwillingly, especially by third parties who are not regulated by the government. Moreover, the government bodies mandated to regulate the trade of human organs should ensure the donors are duly compensated according to the signed agreement, and they receive follow up care until they are fully recovered from the surgical operation.
The approach leading to the solution of increased demand for transplant organs is based on the fast action of the United States government to approve and regulate organ trade. The fast action would, therefore, ensure some death of patients in the waiting list is prevented. Moreover, the government should initiate more programs that ensure a suitable environment is created for potential donors. When the potential environment is ensured, more donors would then present themselves, thus helping to reduce the numbers of patients on the waiting list.
To create more access to human organ transplant and minimize the challenges associated with their donation, sale, and trade, the government has to institute an organ sales system. That legalized system ensures the efficacy and legitimacy of the entire process of organ transplantation. When such a central system is instituted in the country, individuals willing to donate their organs can easily have access to and successfully operate. Moreover, that reduces the need for intermediaries who are usually exploitative and unjust to the potential donors. Therefore, the donors are guaranteed suitable compensation, which matches the organ donated. The central institutions where organs can be readily donated are guaranteed to be safe with qualified medical practitioners to perform the operations. The cumulative effect is a significant reduction of donor deaths associated with operation practised by underqualified medical practitioners. Moreover, since the link between the donor and recipient is cut, the resulting conflict between the two parties is therefore not a factor. Usually, both parties end up satisfied as a result of the mediation following the integration of the instituted central system.
Moreover, there would be a significant reduction of individual going to the black-markets for organ sale, trade, and donation. That is because of the conducive environment introduced by the instituted central organ transplant centres. The friendly environment may be achieved through the development of insurance programs and follow up procedures. With the increased numbers of donors as a result of conducive transplantation environment, the number of supply deficit would be sufficiently reduced. Currently, the sale or human organs is not legally authorized, hence both the donor and recipient engaging in illegal trade stand to suffer when things do not go right. Therefore, successful operation in the entire cycle of sale, trade, and donation of organs is by the instituted central system of organ transplant, which handles the entire operations.
Beyar, R. (2011). Challenges in Organ Transplantation. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3678939/
DCI Donor Services. (2019). Stats And Facts - DCI Donor Services, Inc. Retrieved from https://www.dcids.org/media-center/stats-and-facts/
Hippen, B. (2010). Saving Lives Is More Important Than Abstract Moral Concerns: Financial Incentives Should Be Used to Increase Organ Donation. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2766511/
Shimazono, Y. (2007). WHO | The state of the international organ trade: a provisional picture based on the integration of available information. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/85/12/06-039370/en/
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