Good Example Of Ethical Dilemma Essay
Making an ethical decision;
The decision to be made in this case for a heart transplant is not only an ethical dilemma but can be a moral dilemma for the head surgeon as well. But following certain set rules and guidelines that are universally accepted for organ transplant, many of the decisions to be made can be systematically made instead of depending on the whims of the lead surgeon.
An organ transplant is a major invasive procedure. The history of the patient has profound effects on the decision to be made. For example, the drug abuse history provided by the person called Ozzy who is a thirty eight year old adult, is a negative when considered as a potential organ transplant receiver. Why? The reason is that the drug that was being abused was heroin and the damage to his own heart was due to it as well. Although the subject under consideration has completely turned around his life, and has starting giving back to the community yet despite all that , heroin is a drug in which relapse is very common and a high rate of drug abusers have a tendency to start abusing again. Heart transplant is a very risky business and only a few people from the public get to have it transplanted. If it is transplanted to Ozzy, the heart would have high risk of failure and we cannot afford a lifeless heart after such a hard struggle to get it placed. Although this is a very general consideration, yet such factors have to be kept in mind, thus Ozzy can be moved down the list for heart transplant.
The two candidates that are left are Lisa and Jerry. To make an informed and educated choice every potential transplant candidate has to be analyzed thoroughly and individually.
Lisa is a beautiful girl of 12 who had to face May issues since childhood and is in need of a heart transplant. Her father is also a colleague since he is the head oncologist in the same hospital and has even offered to donate two million to the hospital fund, which the hospital direly requires. As the decision has to be made clinically and since the life expectation of Lisa is still expected to be not more than eight years after the heart transplant, she also moves slightly down the priority list .Despite all other factors, this single overwhelming fact that the duration of her expected life is shorter than that of another candidate after transplant makes the other candidate a better choice. She can still be considered over below mentioned Jerry because she is just a child and hasn’t seem life at all whereas Jerry has lived 55 years.
The last candidate is a family man fifty five years old - Jerry. Jerry has no history of drug abuse except that he used steroids in his young age and at a time when the side effects of steroids were had not come to the surface. Relapse is not an issue in this case and the life expectancy of this candidate, after the heart transplant, is very bright. The patient is expected to live from ten to fifteen years of healthy life after the heart transplant. The patients’ age is of no issue as well and he has a good support system in the form of his family. Thus in the three candidates discussed he is the most suitable candidate.
Such ethical choices are very taxing and yet have to be made by the lead surgeon in a very unbiased and level headed manner.
“Cardiac retransplantation: an ethical dilemma” Curr Opin Cardiol. 2006 Mar;21(2):118-9.