Distributive Justice and Organ Transplants Essay

1181 Words 5 Pages
Throughout history physicians have faced numerous ethical dilemmas and as medical knowledge and technology have increased so has the number of these dilemmas. Organ transplants are a subject that many individuals do not think about until they or a family member face the possibility of requiring one. Within clinical ethics the subject of organ transplants and the extent to which an individual should go to obtain one remains highly contentious. Should individuals be allowed to advertise or pay for organs? Society today allows those who can afford to pay for services the ability to obtain whatever they need or want while those who cannot afford to pay do without. By allowing individuals to shop for organs the medical profession’s ethical …show more content…
Spicer (2008) links distributive justice and resource allocation by proposing four possible approaches to establish divergent criteria, they are: democratic means, age based, personal responsibility based, and cost utility.
The Allocation of Scarce Resources
Innovative advances in the practice of medicine have increased the life span of the average American. This along with the growing population in the United States and has created a shortfall in the number of organs available for transplant today. The current system of allocation used to obtain organs for transplant faces difficulty because of two primary reasons according to Moon (2002). The two perceptions that stop potential organs donors are that the allocation criteria is unfair and favors certain members of society and/or that organs may be allocated to someone who has destroyed their organs by misuse (Moon, 2002). Many individuals decline to donate organs because anyone requiring an organ transplant is placed on a waiting list and it is possible that individuals who have destroyed their organs by their own actions or convicted criminals could receive donated organs before someone whose organs are failing through no fault of their own and positively contribute to society. When a celebrity or wealthy individual requires a transplant they are often viewed as "jumping" the waitlist but