Whyit would be Expedient to Allow Human Organ Trade
Everyyear, thousands of patients with non-functional body organs are puton the list of donations, but only a few undergo successfultransplants. The others continue receiving management care or succumbto their conditions. The organs available for donations cannot meetthe demand. The question of whether the government should allow thecommercialization of human organs donation has sparked a heateddebate. The National Organ Transplant Act prohibited the sale ofhuman organs in 1984(Schiano & Rhodes, 2013).As a sequel, the World Health Organization proposed a similar ban in1991. In the United States, an individual found liable for solicitingor offering funds to have organs may be charged a fine not exceeding$50,000 or a five-year incarceration. Also, the Act gives the EthicsCommittee of the Transplantation Society the mandate to prosecute anysurgeon believed to be involved in direct business aimed at executingthe process. Proponents of the ideology argue that legalizing thesale of organs will benefit the donors and the recipients, curb theblack market trade, and reduce the number of annual deaths. Adivergent school of thought presumes that allowing the sale of humanorgans will pave the way for extortion and increase the inequality inhealth. The group also believes that allowing the financial gainsfrom the sale of organs will swell the number of middlemen who arelikely to exploit the poor by giving them handouts. This paper willargue in favor of the sale of organs by providing supporting premisesand refuting the claims made by the opponents. Human organs should besold if there is a mutual benefit between the donors and therecipients because it can increase the supply of vital parts leadingto the saving of thousands of lives every year.
Theproposal to attach material benefits to organ donation attractscriticism from various members of the society. First, the sale ofbody parts is likely to intensify the inequality in access to healthas observed by the Ethics Committee of Transplantation. The bodyinfers that the price attached to the various organs will only becomea reserve for the rich who can compensate the donors (Schiano& Rhodes, 2013).According to the National Health Service, a kidney in the blackmarket costs about $20, 000, exclusive of the expenses incurred inthe surgical process and the after surgery care. In addition, theintroduction of material remuneration will lead to a significant dropin the number of willing donors.
Theinformed opinion of Dr. Francis Delmonico, a doctor of renaltransplantation at the General Hospital of Massachusetts, holds thatthe methods of acquiring organs are likely to change from consentfulto compulsive (Schiano& Rhodes, 2013). Speaking to the Congress on behalf of the National KidneyFoundation, the professional outlined that the commercialization ofbody organs would introduce extortion. In a differing opinion,Arthur Matters, a transplantation surgeon, infers that suchexploitation as claimed by Delmonico would only take place in anuncontrolled environment. According to Hurst(2015), poorpolicies and spineless market guidelines would lead to loopholes thatwould allow extortionists to engage in malpractices without dreadingthe repercussions of their actions. Matters believes that procuringorgans would not only save more lives but benefit the donors.
Secondly,the opportunity for profit will introduce brokerage, which willreduce human beings to objects with an estimated value. According toHurst (2015),religious organizations incline to this premise demonstrating thatpeople’s worth should not be determined using figures. Pope JohnPaul, the head of the Vatican expressed his concerns that sellingorgans would attract a myriad of human injustices that will widen thecurrent social stratification. Scavenging marketers are likely tolook beyond their home countries to other vulnerable areas where theycan use monetary influence to derive consent. According to Schianoand Rhodes (2013),hundreds of paid donors from Pakistan, India, China, and Turkey selltheir organs to overseas clients. The intention of the merchantsstops at the receipt of the particular body parts. They do not make afollow-up of the after-donation care (Schiano& Rhodes, 2013).Consequently, a significant number of the individuals suffer fromvaried resultant complication and some lose their lives. The EthicsCommittee on Transplantation argues that it will be difficult toestablish fairness in the allocation of organs. The current system isnon-discriminative since patients can receive the organs aftermeeting the pre-convinced requirements. The committee outlines thatthe rich will top the list in case of commercialization.
However,the medical profession is regulated by the principle of autonomy andfairness as outlined by Bauchman and Childress. Medical professionalswould not extract organs from unwilling clients. Also, therequirement for the donor to know the recipient will reduce the riskof exploitation. According to Williamset al. (2014), thecurrent outsourcing of organs is triggered by the absence of uniformregulations across the globe. Also, the health system is governed bythe principle of justice. The government will bear the responsibilityfor ensuring equal access to the available organs by expanding thehealth insurance schemes. The various health packages allow patientsto access the transplantation services. According toBecker and Elias (2014),the estimated cost of a kidney is $20,000. Both Medicaid and Medicarecater for about $60, 000 for dialysis and management. The Departmentof Human Services indicates that in 2011, the government spent $227billion on renal management and only $2.2 billion on transplantation(Becker & Elias, 2014).It would, therefore, be correct to infer that the medical schemes canbe sufficient to cater for the paid organs.
Policymakers,health professionals, and other stakeholders should embrace the saleof organs for several reasons. First, the move would save the livesof thousands of economically active citizens. According to theNational Health Service, about 80, 000 patients were on the list ofkidney transplantation. However, the available organs were less than5,000. The Center for Disease control also outlines that in 2007,there were 7, 774 deceased and 3, 929 live kidney donors against arecipient list of 35, 526(Boyer, 2012). The United States Department of Human Services provides that 17people die every day in the country while awaiting organ donations.Benjamin Hippen, a transplantation surgeon in the United States,indicates that relying on marginal givers has been the primary causeof painful deaths. Hippen gives the example of heart failure patientswho can only survive after transplantation. The unavailability of awilling donor seals their cases (Hippenet al.,2012). The Organ Donor Collaborative highlights that there has neverbeen a relative increase in the number of benefactors despite theswelling population of needy patients. He believes that introducingmonetary tags can partly solve the problem.
Toemphasize on losses suffered by the society emanating from unwillingdonors, a 25-year-old Karen stands as a model example. Karen, thedaughter of a New York computer technician, had extremely poorresponses to dialysis. She was on the list of recipients in 2009, butshe had to wait until the donor’s demise(Hippen et al.,2012). Unfortunately, she succumbed to the illness before she secureda kidney. According to her father, several friends were willing toassist, but they feared the economic loss they would incur in theprocess. It could have compelled them to stay from work and spendtime recuperating. Her father presumed that if the willingacquaintances were compensated for the time they could have lost inhelping her daughter, it could have been easier to get an organ. Thesociety lost a productive 25year-old woman to a preventive death.
NobelPrize winner and professor of economics, Garry Becker, is outrightthat human organs should not be subjected to the laws of demand andsupply. According to Boyer(2012), heterms it as an immoral activity to reduce people to objects that canbe traded with a determined price. The reason why their donationremains non-compensated is to make them priceless. While his claimjustifies the absence of a legalized market for human organs, hispremise on morality is rather inadequate. Selling body parts can beimmoral. However, it cannot be undesirable than letting people diewhile there are others willing to submit their organs at a price.Also, the recipients would not be in any way compelled to procure thespecific organs that match their conditions. On the contrary, theywill make informed choices.
Secondly,legalizing the sale of organs would reduce the impacts of the blackmarket. Most of the people who indulge in the unregulated market arepushed to that end due to the few organs on offer. Most them have towait for months before a benefactor is spotted. To shorten theirmisery, they look for the organs through third parties. In the UnitedStates, the citizens outsource organs from deplorable communities inIndia, China, Turkey, and Pakistan. According to the World HealthOrganization, the middlemen charge clients up to $200, 000 for someorgans while they lure the vulnerable people to sell the parts for asa low as $5,000 (Schiano& Rhodes, 2013).The inability to woo more donors is seen as the driving force forcriminal activities. In 2005, 65,000 patients were on the list as indire need for transplantation. The available organs only benefitedless than half of the deserving persons (Schiano& Rhodes, 2013).
ProfessorNadey Hakim, a Harvey Street surgeon, believes that the attachment ofprice tags to the organs can effectively reduce the impact of theblack market. Hakim outlines that most people fear the repercussionson their health if they donate their organs(Ahmed& Revill,2012). Although some are ignorant of the safety and medical adviceinvolved in the process, the material loss has been the main barrierto giving away vital body parts. The doctor observes that in such anenvironment, people only give up their body parts when they die orwhen it is painfully necessary, for example, when a family memberrequires an organ transplant (Ahmed& Revill,2012). There is, therefore, no mutual benefit in the process. In theblack market, the mutual benefit does not extend beyond the amountpaid at the receipt of the organs. According to Beckerand Elias, (2014),the illegitimacy of the ordeals leaves the donors in deplorablemedical conditions. Also, when the primary objective of the thirdparties is to retrieve a particular organ, they may not heed to otherhealth challenges that may maul the benefactors. In a streamlinedmedical process, people would not shy from seeking professional helpin case they develop problems after organ extraction.
In2009, Levy Izhak Rosenbaum became a media luminary after being nailedby the FBI for organ trafficking. According toMalmqvist (2014),Rosenbaum would source for clients from Israel to sell their parts topatients in undisclosed hospitals in the United States. The FBIrevealed that the culprit would lure vulnerable individuals with $10,000 and sell the organs for more than $160, 000. Nonetheless,Rosenbaum was categorical that it was unfortunate that there were norules to guide the willing buyers and sellers(Malmqvist, 2014).The only way is to bend the laws and save lives.
Anotherprimary reason why organ trade should be allowed is that it willincrease the benefits enjoyed by the donors. Currently, thegovernment has put the price of all organs t $0. Only a fewphilanthropic people would give away their organs unless they want tosave a close friend or a relative. Only a few live benefactors renderorgans to unknown beneficiaries. From the statistics provided by theUnited Sates Department of Human Services, the majority of the bodyparts are extracted from dead individuals as per their wills. JasonBrennan, an associate professor of strategy, economics and ethics atMcDonough School of Business believes that legalization would shielddonor from illegal medical processes(Koali, 2015).He connotes that the trade would license institutions that would beanswerable for any malpractice.
Tounearth how an integrative process would protect the poor fromexploitation, Monir Moniruzzanman, an American journalist traveled toBangladesh in 2012 to investigate the allegation of donor luring bymerchants. In the field, she found numerous newspaper adverts thatwere convincing enough to attract vulnerable individuals(Moniruzzaman, 2012).The information indicated that the body contains two kidneys of whichone is non-functional unless activated. Some went ahead to alludethat the operation to extract one of them involves awakening theinactive kidney and removing the old one. Some of the perpetratorsoffered jobs and citizenship in the United States and Italy tounsuspecting donors. An encounter with the victims exhibited poorlyconducted operations that left big scars due to the reluctance of themiddlemen to pay an extra $200 for a laparoscopic surgery(Moniruzzaman, 2012).
ArthurCaplan, a medical ethicist at the University of Pennsylvania and theco-director of the United Nations Task Force on international organtrafficking disagrees with the ideology. He outlines that it isagainst the health ethics to retrieve organs from susceptible peopleby giving them handouts(Hurst, 2015).However, it is worth noting that, the current laws do not shieldpeople from exploitation by the black market. In fact, they triggerpeople to look for organs regardless of the price. Instituting legaland medical frameworks to streamline the sale of organs can increasethe benefits accrued by the donors. In the black market some organshave a price tag of 160, 000, assuming that the donors only receiveabout 2-5% of the amount, it is more than what most people makeannually in the developing countries(Hurst, 2015).A legal environment would increase the earning to almost 100%. Furthermore, there no medical benefits in the illegal market when thehealth of the benefactors deteriorates due to a faulty operation, thevictims do not have any liberty to sue the middlemen. Having themsell the organs in a regulated medical environment would place theburden on the institutions and individuals in case of inadequatesupport services.
Theoverall aim of the paper is to vouch for the legalization of organtrade for the mutual reaping of the donors and the recipients. Itaddresses the medical professionals and policy makers by invoking theopinion of scholars with authorities in strategy, health and ethics.To demonstrate the appropriateness of commercialization of bodyparts, it would be prudent to assess its consistency with Healthypeople 2020, the professional nursing practice and its legal andpolitical implications.
Oneof the goals of Health People 2020 is to reduce new cases of chronicKidney disease and its complications including death and economiccosts. At the current low donation of organs, it is unlikely that thegovernment will be in a capacity to execute this objective.
Accordingto Boyer,(2012), devisingmethods to reduce the number of patients on the waiting list can bethe only remedy for chronic Kidney disease. The basic method ofswelling the number of organs on offer is introducing compensation.In addition, the government will continue to incur economic lossesdue to the increased number of kidney ailments. The government incursapproximately $227 billion dollars in managing chronic kidneyailments while paying for only $2.2 billion for transplants(Becker & Elias, 2014). The ideology is, therefore, consistent with the cost-effectivestrategy.
Also,the ideology also inclines to the principles of medical practice.Bauchman and Childress outline that autonomy is inseparable withhealth procedures. A legalized trade environment would require theconsent of the donor to avoid the use of money to compel them. Health professional will be in a position to advise on theimplications of the procedure and leave the patient to make informeddecisions (Boyer,2012). It will counter the misleading advertisements such as the oneclaiming that one kidney is non-functional and therefore, notimportant in the body.
Organtrade will not affect the legal provision surrounding the treatmentof individuals in a healthcare setting. It would only trigger thechanging of the policy that prohibits the financial compensation ofbenefactors. A legitimate market would not contradict with the rulesregulating both the private and public healthcare (Boyer,2012).For example, the law allows the sale of semen, compensation for bloodand surrogacy. It would be prudent to authorize the materialcompensation for body parts too since there is no moral differencebetween, heart, kidney, lungs and human eggs.
Thestakeholders are likely to react with mixed feelings to suchproposal. The policymakers rely heavily on the information given bythe professionals in the particular fields. Although they sometimesmake autonomous decisions, they borrow heavily from the stance of thepeople working in the various specializations. Nonetheless, theevidence given by transplantation surgeons, strategists, and affectedpatients can influence their decisions. In the healthcare profession,individuals have different views of licensing organ trade. The moralprinciple of protecting people’s lives should be a primaryconsideration. The rationale for this is that its upholding wouldlead to the formulation of supportive laws to prevent exploitation.
Inconclusion, human organs should be licensed to introduce a mutualbenefit between the donors and the recipients since it can increasethe number of benefactors leading to the saving of thousands ofchronically ill patients every year. The demand for organs is wayabove the supply. The lengthy waiting time only increases thepatients’ misery and health burden. Allowing financial compensationcan encourage more people to submit their usable parts withoutfearing for their health and economic loss. It would also shield thedonors from exploitative middlemen who lure them into the operationswith a meager amount of money. Finally, it would be one of the mosteffective strategies to topple the black market. If people can selltheir organs legally, they would find it unnecessary to usemiddlemen.
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