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Chapter: Medicine Study Notes : Ethics

Tissue Donation - Medical Ethics

Problems of supply: o Fair distribution (resource allocation) o Dead bodies

Tissue Donation


·        Problems of supply:

o   Fair distribution (resource allocation)

o   Dead bodies:

§  When are they dead (brain death criteria, PVS, anencephalic infants)

§  Who gives consent, family distress vs need for a quick decision 

§  Should there be a presumption of donation (with right of opt out) – small constraint on freedom outweighed by significant benefit?

o   Live bodies:

§  Increased supply

§  Operative and consequent risks for donor

§  Consent (especially if donor is a child or non-competent adult)

§  Donor/recipient relationship as source of pressure

o   Buying and selling:

§  Increase supply

§  Objections: Consent (free and informed?), exploitation, degradation, misinformation

o   Fetal tissue:

§  Increases supply

§  Fewer rejection problems

§  Sourced from abortion

§  „Surplus‟ embryos

o   Animal Tissue

·        Regulation:

o   Health Act 1956 controls donation and prohibits profit making 

o   Human Tissue Act 1964 regulates organ removal after death – mixed opting in/opting out arrangement 

o   Living Donors: common law – unlawful to remove a body part if not therapeutic for the donor [Blood is covered by the Health Act)


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Medicine Study Notes : Ethics : Tissue Donation - Medical Ethics |

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