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An Essay Concentrating on the Ethical Aspects Involved in Organ Transplantation.

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Introduction

An Essay Concentrating on the Ethical Aspects Involved in Organ Transplantation. Organ transplantation is a main branch of medical surgery in which many technological leaps have been made in the last decade. So much so that it has become common practice in many of the modern hospitals of today. The process involves finding an organ donor (often the most difficult part), if the donor is deceased the organ has to be removed within a few hours as the internal biology of humans degenerates greatly in a relatively short space of time. In the case of heart transplants, the operation is conducted under general anaesthesia. An incision is made into the person's chest and the heart is exposed. They are then connected to a heart-lung bypass machine that keeps them supplied with a steady flow of oxygenated blood. The heart can then be removed and the replacement sewn into place. Once the new heart is in place the heart-lung bypass machine is disconnected and the heart restarted. ...read more.

Middle

The patient must also be able to adhere to complex drug regimes and be able to attend frequent follow-up examinations. I believe that this is a very effective selection method, because if all other treatment avenues haven't been explored, then an organ that may have been better used would have been wasted. The same could be said for a patient not able to stick to the drug regime. The ethical issues surrounding organ transplantation are compelling, complex and frequently perplexing. Doctors and other trained professionals are on a daily basis, deciding who should receive a transplant operation and the organ necessary and who should not, essentially, who should die and who should not. The decisions, when made, often seem incredibly unfair. Patients who are less ill than others often get transplants, whilst others die waiting for a donor to appear. For example in Ohio the median waiting time for Blood Type O kidney patients is approximately 204 days in one part of the state. ...read more.

Conclusion

Xenotransplantation has become a bigger issue in the last decade. It involves breeding an animal for its organs. Being able to breed animals purely for organ transplantation purposes helps to dispel many ethical dilemmas, such as having to "pull the plug" on brain dead patients in an attempt to keep up with the demand for organs. The most widely recognised method of xenotransplantation is with pig hearts, as they are the nearest equivalent in the animal kingdom to human hearts. But, presumably because there are marked differences between human and pig DNA, rejection rates are higher using this technique. However there is hope as technology improves and immunosuppressive drugs get more complex. In spite of these technological leaps, do people want to be part human, part pig? Will vegetarians accept an animal heart? Will Jews only accept pig hearts that have been prepared with Kosher is mind? So it seems that instead of diminishing the ethical aspects that need to be addressed, technological advances and alternate methods have and will only compound the problems. ...read more.

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