Wednesday, January 18, 2012

More on organ transplants

A post from the Washington Post "On Parenting" blog by Janice D'Arcy

Stefanie Fishel and I have a paper (still needs to be finished) on global rules regarding organ transplantation.  The rules are mostly about appropriate donations and donors.  The recent discussion of whether a child with mental disabilities can receive a donated organ raises questions. I realize I might be pushing this too far, but consider for a moment: Humans can share organs because we have interchangeable parts.  What are we saying about the nature of our human-ness when we decide that some are not eligible to receive organs?  In some cases, are we saying that someone is not human enough? Do we see flaws of the body (Fragile X syndrome, for example) as diminishing an individual's worth? This is not just a concern about children, some of whom have intellectual disabilities.  It is also a concern about the elderly.  What happens to our worth when our bodies become frail?

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