The change of a sick organ may increase the length of life of people who suffer from the diseases of the heart, kidney, or liver. The best choice in this situation is the transplantation of a new healthy organ. Such operations are carried out in medical centers all over the world; however, not all ethical dilemmas connected with the process of organ transplantation have been resolved. The paper investigates the organ allocation guidelines that ensure that the assignment of organs is conducted ethically.
For me as a nurse, it is necessary to establish the system of values that would allow me to deal with moral dilemmas in the future. The creation of a framework is helpful when it is necessary to take urgent decisions and to keep the emotional stability after a decision has been made. One of such situations is the choice of candidates for organ transplantation. It is necessary to decide which person is eligible for the operation.
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To solve the moral dilemma, it is necessary to take three steps. First, it is important to know personal values. For me, the main value in my profession is the health of a person. I consider that it is better to save more lives as each individual is valuable for society regardless of his/her age, social status, or other factors.
The second step is the selection of a model. I consider that the best model, in this case, is utilitarianism. In my opinion, it allows saving the as many human lives as possible. At the same time, it is necessary to take into consideration the golden rule for me as a worker of health care sphere – to treat others the way I would like to be treated. To follow this model, I have developed the guidelines that would help to choose the right person for organ allocation.
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The greatest risk to the patients, who have been subjected to organ transplantation, is the rejection of the organ by their immune system. Because of this fact, one of the most important guidelines for organ allocation is the compatibility of the patient with the donor (“The organ transplant waiting list”, n.d.). In this situation, the health condition and the age of a person do not have a major significance since it is necessary to take into consideration genetic factors first. If the tissue that belongs to genetically different individuals has different antigens, the organ transplantation from one individual to another is associated with a very high risk of organ rejection and loss. Thus, I consider this factor to be of the primary importance of organ allocation.
At the same time, it is necessary to take into consideration the risk groups that may also cause the rejection of organs by recipients. Thus, risk groups include patients who suffer from cancer with malignant tumors with a small period that has passed after the radical treatment as organ transplantation may increase the risk of cancer (Ross, 2007). In most cases, the period of recovery after such treatments should be at least 2 years. Furthermore, transplantation is not recommended for the patients who suffer from infectious and inflammatory diseases. Psychological diseases, drug, and alcohol addiction do not allow patients to carry out the prescribed treatment. In this case, patients are also referred to risk category. Therefore, I think that the patients, who have a lower risk of organ rejection, should be provided with the first-handed access to the donated organs.
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During organ allocation, it is also important to consider the age of a patient. Thus, younger people have greater ability to recover after the operation due to the resources of the organism. However, I think that this factor should be the last for consideration as every person regardless of his/her age has the right to life.
The third step is the solution to the ethical dilemma. I believe that developed guidelines should be helpful in making the right decision in the sphere of organ allocation. With the help of these guidelines, it is possible to save the maximum number of people and to assure that transplanted organs will not be rejected by the organism and improve the health of a patient.
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At the same time, there exists another solution for the problem. Thus, scientists develop the methods of growing organs from stem cells (McGowan, 2014). One of the major sources of stem cells is the human fat that with time may be transformed into the necessary organs (Lim, 2011). Fat is a renewable tissue that is available for nearly every person. In the case, if scientists manage to produce new organs from human fat, the ethical problems of organ transplantation will be resolved. At the same time, the organs produced from the personal cells will not be rejected by the organism that will allow people not to take immunosuppressive drugs. Thus, I consider that it is necessary to continue investigations in this sphere.
For the workers of the medical sphere, it is of utmost importance to establish the system of values that allow making a choice in a difficult situation and to keep moral calmness at the same time. To solve ethical dilemmas, I have developed a set of guidelines. First, the organs for transplantation should be allocated to people who will not suffer from the organ rejection and who are genetically compatible with a donor. Secondly, the organs should be allocated to the patients who do not suffer from the diseases that do not allow the transplantation. Thirdly, the organs should be received by the patients who can follow all prescriptions of their doctor. In addition, if an organism is young, a person has more chances to recover after a transplantation.