Values Systems in Cross-Cultural Perspective
Chapter 16: An Unlikely Donor
This case study that is “An Unlikely Donor” is regarding the problem of organ selling that is widespread amongst the poor people. Organ selling is a prevalent practice in which an individual sells his or her organ in exchange of the money or other reasons. Due to poverty and other financial and economic issues the practice of organ selling is quite common in developing and under developed countries
This case study deals with the issue of organ selling. The nurse, Carole Bennet who was working in a private hospital in London while going through patient charts; she observed that in the past few months there were unusual cases of organ donations where the donors were not related to the organ recipients and they were all healthy men. This seemed peculiar to Carole Bennet as removing a kidney from human body is very painful process and why would an unknown person go through such a pain for somebody who is not even related to him or her. On further pondering she realized that Mrs. Amin is receiving a kidney from Mr. Simonie. Mr. Simonie is a healthy man and is not even related to Mrs. Amin. Moreover, he is from Kuwait and does not even know how to read and write English. On further investigation she found out that Mr. Simonies was a poor Turkish peasant and did not know English; he has agreed to sell his kidney for 10,000 Pounds Sterling which seemed unethical and immoral to Carole Bennet. With the organ donation, Mr. Simonies would get enough money to meet his as well as his children’s need. The case presents and highlights the basic issues related to organ transplantation, the informed consent and also the ethics of organ selling and its impact on the lives of sellers.
The dilemma of Carole Bennet further increased as she found that all these foreign donors were from Turkey and were under the exclusive care of Mrs. Mathers Smith. Now Carole is facing the dilemma whether her accusations on Mrs. Mathers Smith are true or not. Moreover, Carole is confused whether Mr. Simonie knows that he has agreed to sell his kidney as he cannot read and write English. Furthermore, she was also surrounded by her nursing ethics as she is the caregiver who demands her to be honest with her profession as well as patients. In addition, the fact that Mr. Simonie was very poor and the money he would get in return of his kidney would financially help his two generations has made Carole to think rationally about her decision .The case basically highlights the issue of selling human organs by the poor people in exchange of the money.
World Wide View
An Islamic Response
Organ Transplantation technologies have led to saving lives of a lot of people as well as enhancing the quality of life for many. Hence, there are thousands of people worldwide who are in need of human organs and tissues. This advancement in technologies has also resulted in an immense as well as emergent market for the supply of organs. A lot of countries for instance European nations and United States of America rely principally on foreign donors However; there are some countries that completely prohibit organ transplantation within the country such as United Arab Emirates.
In the light of Islamic teachings, the sale and purchase of human organs has different teachings and implications in different scenarios. Islamic teachings have paid great emphasis on morality and ethics. The core of Islamic teachings is the excellence of moral and ethical behavior of a human being. According to Islamic teachings every human being has a body and soul. The condition of a human being depends up on the perpetual soul. All human beings are likewise placed with regard to their religious excellence. Allah provided the man with the essential knowledge of bad and good at the time of his inception. In contrast, actions of human beings are of significance and value if done by free will and informed freedom. The explanations to moral issues are consequential from the principles of Islam (Larijani, Zahedi, and Bazzaz, 2007)
Islam is a religion of peace and therefore encourages serving others as well as saving other’s lives. According to Islamic sanctions vital organs for instance the heart cannot be donated or given prior to one’s death. Donation of other organs such as kidney is allowable but it must not be detrimental to the health of donor. However, for the transplantation of organ the free consent of Donor and recipient are necessary. So, according to Islamic perspective donating organs other than heart is allowed provided that it doesn’t harm the donor. Donating organ to save someone else’s life is an act of great deed and excellence. For that reason, organ donation is allowable for a living human being to give the part of their body for instance the kidneys in order to save the life of another individual, given that the organ donation would not cause danger to the life of donor and that it would facilitate the recipient to survive.
Majority of the Muslim scholars have agreed on the notion that organ donation is allowable based on the following conditions that it would assist the receiver certainly and does not cause harm to the donor. Moreover the donor donates the tissue or the organ willingly as well as without financial or monetary compensation. So, therefore Islam though allows the transplantation of those human organs that do not cause harm to one’s life. However, this donation must be an act of pure philanthropy and altruism that is selling human organs in exchange of money is not permitted according to the Islamic teachings as it causes many harms and evils in the society such as in equality and injustice. Moreover, it leads to exploitation of poor and violation of human rights
In the living donor case, the belief of causing no harm is invoked. The donor according to Islamic beliefs cannot donate any of his vital organs that would end his life. Organ transplantation is a novel technique of treatment that could save a lot of human lives as well as improve the quality of life for a lot of people. Islamic teachings encourage its followers to investigate for the ways to cure the disease and illness as well as summon Muslims not to despair. The donation of human organs is an act of assistance, benevolence, philanthropy as well as love for mankind. Allah loves those human beings who love and help fellow humans and endeavor to lessen the anguish and distress of other humans and try to mitigate their hardships. Therefore in the light of Islamic teachings the donation organs to help others is encouraged. However, the act must be aimed at helping others not making money.
World Wide View’s approach to issues
Transplantation of organs is currently used as a treatment of choice for life threatening failure of functioning of a number of human organs. Due to advancement in the transplantation technologies a person suffering from acute organ failure could be saved by transplanting organ from another human being. This advancement has created a lot of social and moral concerns as well. There has been a considerable raise in the amount of organ transplantations carried out globally in the last few decade. On the other hand, the scarcity of accessible organs and the increase in the figure of patients in need have resulted in lengthy waiting lists. In order to solve this issue, there is a dire need to look for ways to enlarge the pool of human organ donor. Based on Islamic beliefs and teachings the legalizing of organ donation that are non-vital to one’s life is permitted. Those who support the stance of legalizing the organ selling say that legalizing the organ selling would have numerous benefits such as by making it legal the black market of organ selling would be eradicated that would lead to lessen the exploitation of poor ones. Moreover, by making it legal a national organ market would be developed that would eliminate the exploitation and violation of rights of people from under developed countries and would also help fighting the national shortage of organs. Most importantly it would give a life to those who are suffering from acute organ failure and require organ transplantation in order to survive. So, by making the organs selling legal many lives could be saved. Many countries have legalized this practice in order to reduce the shortage of human organs nationally.
As a Muslim I believe the true essence of Islam, for me, is being such a human being from whose existence, no being is hurt. Islam, for me is a complete guidance for its followers and directs them in every step of their lives. As a Muslim, I would see donation of organs as a means of helping and feeling for others as you feel for yourself and choosing for others as I choose for myself. Unlike many others, I refute the belief of going to such an extent of worship that it in any way harms others. I strongly believe that holding responsibility and showering courtesy, love and compassion to the beings of Allah is more pleasing to Him rather than indulging in His worship in a way that you ignore other right. For instance, human body is sacred in Islam. A transplantation of a human organ, of a dead for a living should not be criticized and nor the religion holds this view. But many are reluctant to donate their dead’s organ to save a life.
People who have spent their lives, their time and money in the service of humanity earn respect and love from fellow humans. The biggest reward for such people is with God. Thus, Islamic belief encourages and never refutes to help or be of service to fellow beings. The organ transplantation is an act returning lives.
Pros and cons
However, by making this practice legal there can be a lot of implications as well such as encouraging people to sell their body parts is ethically and morally wrong as by making this practice legal there will be increased exploitation of the less fortunate and underprivileged ones. Moreover, this would prompt the possible donors to conceal conditions or any illnesses that may rule them out. In addition, it would demoralize the present philanthropic donor program. These methods will lead to increase ethical and moral issues and conflicts as with the prevalent shortage of cadaveric organs for transplantation, the use of living donor organs has been suggested by many people and also the execution of legislation has been occurred in a number of countries
However, this step would lead to increased social injustice among poor people. In addition, living donors are frequently not provided with proper medical care. People and institutes that support the organ selling and donations argue that by legalizing the sales of organ there will be increased supply of human organs which will solve the issue of national shortages of human organs and would lead to eradicating the black market in organs therefore increasing and ensuring the safety of donors. Moreover, it would signify that donors were also paid like everybody else implicated in the process of transplantation. Lastly and most importantly it will help save the lives of people who are suffering from acute and life threatening organ failure and those who could not survive without an organ transplant. Those in favor of this issue of organ selling and transplants say that by saving a life one serves humanity. Therefore the practice of organ selling should be legalized
In order to have market for human organs it must be ensured that a market must be properly designed as well as regulated .Nonexistent laws on organ donation and transplantation hearten commercialism as well as transplant tourism therefore if all the countries show consent on a common approach, and impede for profit exploitation, then access to human organs will be more impartial in addition fewer health misfortunes.
background on worldview
On the worldwide view of making the sales and purchase of organs legal in order to meet the national or local shortage of organs and saving the lives of those suffering from acute organ failure, I believe this decision would have a lot of implications and more repercussions than advantages both in ethical as well as social regard. Personally I strongly condemn this practice of organ selling as the human organs are gift of God given to every individual by the God as their birth right. Society might have an obligation to conserve human life as well as relieve the sufferings of human, however not at the expense of others who are less fortunate and less privileged. Particularly, the society must not take on any practices that could instigate the injustices or would defy the basic human rights of individuals. Permitting the sales of organs to be bought and sold will lead to both that is would create injustice in the society as well as would violate human rights.
Though by legalizing the sale of human organs there would be decreased shortage of human organs and also the black market of human organs would be eradicated. Those who favor the legalizing of human organ market believe that it would lead to decreased exploitation of poor However; I believe this would further increase the exploitation of underprivileged.
The basic underlying principle of justice demands that each and every individual of the society must be provided with the equal right to live his or her life. In order to guard this basic right of humans, a society has a responsibility to make certain that each and every person irrespective of him being poor or rich has an the same access to health benefits. However if a market in human organs were to be developed, an individual’s capability to pay and wealth would establish who could purchase organs, whereas financial need would decide who would be aggravated to trade their organs in exchange of money. Those who are very affluent would end up buying the organs being sold by the less fortunate and poor ones. A market in organs selling would therefore advantage the people with affluence whereas putting pressures on the underprivileged to imperil their own health. Such an imbalanced distribution of medical benefits and saddles would be completely unjust and unfair (Centre for Bioethics).
Furthermore, every individual has a right to live his or her life with liberty and self-esteem. Organs selling would unavoidably guide to exploitations that would defy the freedom as well as dignity of people. Permitting the sales of human organs would lead to the abuse of the underprivileged and uninformed, particularly in indigent third world and under developed countries. Individuals living in acute scarcity are typically distressed as well as ignorant. Moreover, it will compel profit seekers to take advantage of their poverty and ignorance, acquiring approval from those who feel bound by necessity to trade their organs, as well as those who might not have a comprehensible understanding of the outcomes of their actions. Therefore, such a scenario would push the most weak in the society to deem themselves to be commodities and therefore this would allow others to defy their rights for commercial gains. The rich people cannot take that away from poor by using the power of their money. The practices like these will create further inequity and injustice in the society and it will encourage rich people to exploit poor further; so such practice should be stopped at all costs.
The requirement for human organs will just increase until the scarcity of human organs is alleviated; therefore it is definite that many people will die yearly. However the ethical concerns surrounding the issue of organs selling will be a prevalent phenomenon. Therefore, a choice has to be made among two sets of moral values that is the value placed on thwarting death and lessening the suffering of those in pain or the value placed on respecting the dignity of humans as well as the pledge of meeting human needs in a just as well as equitable way (Price).
I do not agree to the idea of less fortunate and poor ones selling their organs in exchange of money This practice would create in equity in the society and would increase the gap between rich and poor where rich and affluent people can buy fundamental rights of poor and those who are poor would have to sell their organs in order to buy economic security for themselves as well as their children. So, with this would lead to exploitation of the poor. Therefore, in my opinion Carole must inform higher authorities about the case of Mr. Simonie and blow the whistle regarding the issue. As, ignoring this issue would further strengthen the issue of violating the rights of poor as well as exploiting poor in the society. In addition, donating one’s organs to give life to others and for altruistic purpose is a good providence as well as a good deed on the other hand selling or purchasing it in exchange of money is ethically and morally not right and would give rise to inequity and disproportion in the society. Furthermore, the nursing ethics of Carole Bennet stipulate her to be honest and truthful with her profession as well as towards her patients. Being a nurse, she is a caregiver that puts additional responsibility on her to be honest about any unethical or immoral practice towards the patients. Therefore Carole Bennet should tell the senior surgeon about the case of Mrs. Amin; so that this act of injustice is stopped as the organs are gift of God provided to all individual as their birth right. Therefore the rich people have no right to take that away from those who are less fortunate ones by using the influence and power of their money. As, theses practices would create further injustice and prejudice in the humanity and would lead to exploitation of poor.
- Centre for Bioethics. 2004 Web. 12/2/2012 http://www.ahc.umn.edu/img/assets/26104/Organ_Transplantation.pdf
- Larijani, Bagher, Zahedi, Farzaneh. and Bazzaz, Javad. “End of Life Ethical Issues and Islamic Views”. Iranian Journal Of Allergy, Asthma And Immunology, 6 (2007): 5-15. Print
- Price, David. Legal and ethical Aspects of Organ Transplantation. 2000. Cambridge University Press.