Health-care technology advances can improve treatment but also raises questions and issues about its application. Kutner reviews the development of organ-transplant technology (24-26) and then discusses key issues surrounding organ transplantation and the lack of a regulatory system to better manage critical components. Medical technology advances, inflated medical service and health insurance prices, an increased supply of doctors and an aging population affect rising health care costs (Kutner 32). The supply of donated organs needs to increase so selection criteria can be eased (Kutner 23, 32-33). Kutner supports: (1) a “presumed consent” policy in which organs can be removed from brain-dead patients unless a “refusal card” or family member objection is presented; and (2) a “required request” law allowing physicians to ask family members for organ donations and some reasonable compensation (27-29). Appropriate transplant-recipient criteria still must be refined even though entitlement programs for kidney transplants are available and other federal regulations expected; selection criteria should relate to the quality of a specific transplant program and a patient’s background and medical needs (Kutner 23, 29-31, 32). There is a need to restrict the number of transplant centers and determine essential elements needed by transplant programs to ensure a high level of patient quality-of-life outcomes (Kutner 23-24, 31-32). Kutner applauds federal laws that facilitate organ transplants offering wider patient eligibility; this will help organize health care delivery systems for specific diseases using advanced medical technology (26-27, 32-33).
Strengths and weaknesses were noted in this article. Kutner provides excellent, well-organized and documented evidence and stimulates discussion on several important organ transplantation issues that are still discussed in the medical community. One obvious weakness is the age of this article; a follow-up profile of current organ transplantation issues and regulations would be an invaluable resource.
Kutner, Nancy G. "Issues in the application of high cost medical technology: the case of
organ transplantation." Journal of Health and Social Behavior 28.1 (1987): 23-36. Web. 27 July 2015. Retrieved from <http://www.jstor.org/Issues in the application of high cost medical technology: the case of organ transplantation>.