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Sunday, 12 February 2012

Doctors' radical plan to tackle organ shortage

Now this really is something to get the tongues wagging! In the latest medical news, it's being suggested that in future, patients could be kept alive to become donors, and hearts retrieved from newborn babies if controversial BMA proposals are accepted. This is certainly a radical move and somewhat dystopian.

Doctors’ radical plan to tackle organ shortage
(Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Patients could be kept alive solely so they can become organ donors, hearts could be retrieved from newborn babies for the first time, and body parts could be taken from high-risk donors as part of an urgent medical and ethical revolution to ease Britain's chronic shortage of organs, doctors' leaders say .

Hearts could also be taken from recently deceased patients and restarted in those needing a cardiac transplant, under controversial proposals from the British Medical Association intended to stop up to 1,000 people a year dying because of the country's chronic shortage of organs.

A new BMA report on ways to increase the supply of organs, which it has shown to the Guardian, has revived the intense ethical debate about how far doctors should go to help save the lives of the growing number of patients with organ failure.

While this idea is no doubt well meaning, we have to wonder where it is all leading. It could be that if we say it's permissible to harvest healthy organs from people clinically dead or on the verge of death, that we are reducing the idea of quality of life in favour of quantity. And whatever happened to "dying with dignity"? I don't see much dignity if people are close to popping their clogs and there's a que of people waiting to take over use of their body parts!

Maybe it's only a short time before we go to the equivalent of Sainsburys or TESCOs and order our own kidney replacement or heart transplant. Oh what a terror-ridden world we live in!

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