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Commercialization of Organs

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Submitted By Naomia
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Assignment 4
Commercialization of Organ Transplants
Naomia Curtis
BUS309
Prof. Kenneth A. Pino

The idea of sale of organs normally pops the question of whether or not this should be allowed. Well, legally the sale of organs in exchange for money or any other mode of payment is not accepted. However, there are several businesses and medical practitioners that want to change this. One of the notable associations that fight for this idea to go through is the AMA (American Medical Association). To justify their actions, they mention that the ethical issues behind the sale of organs favor the idea. This motivates them in fighting for laws restricting such sale of organs to be legal.
The sale of organs is normally favored by two arguments. The first argument is the notion that the owner of the organ has every right to do as he/she wishes with their body parts. Secondly, there is a big shortage in the number of organs ready for transplant that has even led to radical measures being put in place to ensure that more organs for donations are present. Whether the organs would be sold, there is justification due to the high shortage being experienced. Arguments that are against the sale of organs are normally thrown back and forth. Nevertheless there are two clear arguments that reflect on the above arguments that have been mentioned. The first argument is the fact that selling organs eventually leads to commoditization of the bodies. The second argument that is not in favor of the sale of organs is that this would lead to a situation where the rich take advantage of the poor individuals i.e. the poor individuals are exploited in order for the rich to benefit. The idea of commoditization doesn’t really make a lot of sense. The fact that you are the “sole owner” of your body generally means that you have full control over it and hence you are free to do as you please. This is true. But this does not necessarily mean that for example, you would sell yourself out for slave merchants to buy you out. This brings out clearly that as human beings, it is impossible to be regarded as a commodity that has a price tag on it. Why would you sell your body for a certain price and forget the fact that there are certain laws that restrict people from offering their labor services below a certain price tag? According to Karl Marx “a commodity is a marketable item produced to satisfy wants or needs”. Are you a commodity? By selling your organs you would be benefiting others rather than benefiting yourself. Societal norms perceive the fact that the body is only used for personal gains/advantage and not that of others. Virtue ethics is also not in favor of this. The actions that you are doing would simply lead to perceptions that you are not good in the society. By selling your organs your personality would strike out in a negative way.
In relation to the societal perceptions with regards to the sole ownership of the body, this is not taken in a manner that this type of ownership can be transferred through legal laws to other individuals. There is some form of uniqueness in the way ownership is perceived in this case. A valid social reason that is not in favor of the commoditization of organs is the fact that eventually the rich would benefit from such sale. This implies that the poor are only exploited in one way or another. History proves that during slavery era most of the people that were being sold were the poor. Take a look at the laws governing salaries; these laws are not there to protect those that are rich. Rather they are there to protect the poor. In strong relation to the topic of the debate, the laws that are there to prevent the sale of organs are simply there to ensure that the poor people are protected. Thus, in all the cases you would find that the rich try to bend existing laws to warrant that they benefit. So, does selling of organs leads to maximum utility? No, it is highly likely that only the rich would be benefiting. Thus, the idea of commoditization is not in accordance with the ethical theory of utilitarianism.
It is worth noting that selling of organs can take place in two different forms. First, selling organs of those that are living and secondly the selling of organs for dead people. Selling organs of living people is normally restricted to the sale of kidneys. This is due to the fact that one can survive by simply making use of a single kidney. Giving out your kidney is not an easy process as one could think. This is a process that involves a lot of complications leave alone the fact that you would be going through a lot of pain. Just like any other surgery that you would go through, the process is normally painful and more so dangerous to the patient. You should keep in mind that there are 50/50 chances of surviving. Also, infections are likely to occur which might kill you. This reminds you that commoditization of organs is simply not in accordance with the ethical theory of utilitarianism since suffering is reduced on one side and inflicted on the other.
Lastly, there is no sufficient proof that any human being can survive with only one kidney. In the event that the donor gets into an accident or rather they are sick later on, the chances of survival are close to nil. As a matter of fact, the poor people would run the risk of not surviving due to the lifestyles that they engage in. Judging from the above, would you want to sell your kidney? One thing that should be set clear is the fact that it is very rare to find the rich/the middle class individuals selling out their organs. This means that only the poor are doing this. Actions by the poor can simply be regarded as being desperate for money or the value considerations. Does this kind of desperation justify the poor to sell out their kidneys? In an ethical society the idea of selling organs should not be accepted more so from those that are living.
The other form of organ selling is the sale of body parts from those that are dead. This could be your relative. The dead cannot speak for themselves and thus this kind of selling would not in any way stand out as an act of being desperate. However, this does not imply that such actions are accepted. The process of organ transplantation is something that demands for money and this often leads to the poor dying since they cannot afford to undergo through the process. Certainly, buying organs from people that are dead would mean that there would be an increase in the number of organs available for donation. Nonetheless, this would also have an effect of increasing the prices of gaining access to transplanting services hence the poor would not benefit in any way. The rich would also have to pay a lot of money in order to have organ transplants. Thus, no party would be benefiting as a result of organs being readily available. Without doubt in this scenario Kantian ethics comes into play by bringing out the fact that the main reason for the transplant is to save the needy patient. However, this does not balance with the theory of utilitarianism that it would lead to maximum benefit for all. A bigger issue arises when the organ donor almost dies. Normally, medical experts would recommend that such patients be freed from life support machines and their organs immediately donated. Is this ethically accepted? Several questions certainly come to mind, for example whether families would opt to lose their loved ones simply because they would sell the organs that they have. Another ethical question is as to whether the doctors would offer the right treatment to save the almost dying knowing very well that they can donate organs.
Conclusion
From the above heated debate, the judgment here is clear basing on the ethical theories and societal accepted norms. The selling of organs would simply be another form of saying risking someone else’s life. The fact that they would have 50/50 chances of survival and the complications that come as aftermath effects are not admirable in any way, would make one conclude that this should not be accepted. Performing transplants would not lead to fulfillment of the theory of utilitarianism and at the same time virtue ethics is not in favor of this. Kantian ethical theory would somewhat be in favor of the idea due to the fact that someone that was dying would survive longer. Nevertheless, it is a battle of two against one. I do believe that the arguments against commercialization of organs win.

References:
Ashcroft, R. E. (2007). Principles of health care ethics. Chichester, West Sussex, England: John
Wiley & Sons.
Bluhm, W. T., & Heineman, R. A. (2007). Ethics and public policy: Method and cases. Upper
Saddle River, N.J: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Pence, G. E., & Pence, G. E. (2011). Medical ethics: Accounts of ground-breaking cases.
Shaw, William H. (2014). Business ethics (8th ed.)…...

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