April 14, 2024

Why not try ‘organ conscription’?

Oxford researcher’s proposal

And if there is any
doubt about whether dead donor rule is in dispute, a staff member of
the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, at Oxford, has suggested that
it may be time for mandatory organ donation. Because even a presumed
consent policy would not yield enough organs, Dominic Wilkinson,
writing on the
Ethics blog
, supports a policy of
“organ conscription”:

Alternatively, we
may come to think that the benefit of organ donation is so great that
we should reject the current charade of informed consent for organ
donation. After all, at present thousands of patients per year die
for want of an available organ. Yet every day potentially life-saving
organs are buried or burned because their owners did not make their
wishes clear during life, because their families could not come to
terms with the idea of donation, or because doctors failed to
approach families to ask them for permission. Consent is relevant to
what happens to us while we are alive. But once we are dead, our
organs cannot benefit us, while they could save the lives of up to 6
others. Perhaps it is time to contemplate mandatory organ donation
after death?”