Probability

Ethical Healthcare Issues Paper

These factors always yield ethical issues that question the ethical nature of the allocation method (Reiser, 2006). For instance, people are allocated organs just because they are wealthy and can pay for them. A medically needy person living far away from the donor may fail to receive the organ, which is given to a less needy person near the donor. Such ethical concerns clearly posit that there lacks an ethical approach for allocating transplant as some people are unfairly treated during the allocation process. In this regard, this paper evaluates the transplant allocation process using the four major ethical principles, including the principle of non- maleficence, justice, autonomy and beneficence. This determines the possibility of a more ethical way to allocate transplants. Autonomy The autonomy principle is highly employed in the healthcare sector. However, when it comes to determining the criteria for the transplant allocation process, it has minimal use. In fact, Reiser (2006) highlights that to be fair and effective, the allocation process should not be guided by the autonomy principle. Autonomy means deliberate self-determination or self-rule. The autonomy principle allows a person to make the decisions that one perceives to be morally right without third party interference. Although it is the basis of individual moral values, the principle cannot be employed in the allocation process. This is because in some cases, those allocating transplants may develop sympathy-driven emotional bonds with transplant recipients, such as those who have waited for long and the very young persons, including babies. If the principle of autonomy is applied by those allocating the organs, they are likely to act based on emotional pressure. Essentially, the allocators are more likely to allocate organs based on emotional bonds development rather than on any specific criteria or fairness. Hence, fairness or justice overrules autonomy in the allocation process to limit ethical issues in the allocation process. Beneficence Beneficence directs that the allocators do not harm, promote the recipients welfare and do good. Nevertheless, how is this possible in allocating transplants, which are scarce resource?. Ideally, as Jensen (2011) indicates, it is difficult to avoid doing harm, doing good and promoting the welfare of the recipients when allocating transplants. Notably, allocating a kidney to a child based on age or other factors over an older woman who has stayed long in the waiting list or any other factor involves doing good to one patient and harming the other. It may be argued that focusing on the medically needy is doing good, avoiding harm and promoting the welfare of the recipients. However, other factors, such as the probability of success and being on the waiting list for too long still show that the allocation process may not avoid doing harm or promote recipients welfare. Ideally, it may become evident that a needy person with low or almost zero success chances has been allocated a transplant over a less needy person who with high success rates. In this case, when the transplant fails, it will do no good. In fact, it may cause harm because the ‘less needy’ person may suffer unnecessarily because the transplant could have been successful on him or her. Categorically, although it is crucial to uphold the principle of beneficence in healthcare, it cannot help formulate an allocation process

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