2013-2014

DONOR: WHAT IS THE VALUE OF THE HUMAN BODY?

Topic230Throughout the course of a four-week summer internship and two academic trimesters, nine students from Kent Place School, in conjunction with The Hastings Center, added their voice to that conversation. Students uncovered the themes of safety, quality of life, fairness, and more while delving into individual topics such as xenotransplantation, snowflake embryo adoption, and the commodification of kidneys.  Explore our papers to add your voice to the conversation!
Meet the 2013-2014 Scholars

SNOWFLAKE ADOPTION: A CASE FOR EMBRYO ADOPTION THROUGH DONATION

Bailey240v3Description: In the United States alone, there are over 400,000 frozen embryos.  What does this mean? Frozen embryos are the product of a well-known Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) called in-vitro fertilization (IVF). Infertile couples, same sex couples, or individuals who want to have or bear children can use this ART by which eggs and sperm are externally joined to create an embryo. A single IVF cycle can create many embryos, and as a result, not all of the embryos that are created are used. In order to preserve them, they are cryopreserved, or frozen. Through Embryo Adoption, these frozen embryos have the chance of life with a loving family. My paper examines the aspects of donation for adoption and its effects on both embryos and society. “Like a snowflake, each of these embryos is unique, with the unique genetic potential of an individual human being.” (George Bush, 2001)  Read more…

 

PRISONERS AND ORGAN TRANSPLANTS: DO SOCIETY’S MOST DANGEROUS DESERVE PRIORITY MEDICAL CARE?

Plate230Description: Are prisoners worthy of receiving organ transplants? If so, who should bear the responsibility of paying for their transplants? In January 2002, an unnamed prisoner with end stage congestive heart failure serving a fourteen-year sentence for armed robbery was given a heart transplant at the Stanford University Medical Center. His medical costs approximately amounted to an astronomical $1 million dollars, all which were paid by taxpayers. This prisoner’s procedure had sparked controversy. With the continued organ scarcity and the pressure to ensure that each organ is utilized to the best of its capability, many have begun to question whether social status, such of that of prisoners, should be used as a criterion in the allocation of organs. This paper will ultimately address this issue and will also address what quality of health care should be offered in prisons.The main ethical issues that will be discussed in my paper are fairness (fairness of allotting payment of prisoners’ organ transplants and fairness of allocating organs to prisoners with regards to moral worth) and what constitutes the good use of an organ, including how the chance of success of a transplant relates to good use.  Read more…

 

KIDNEY COMMODIFICATION: IS IT WRONG TO SELL PARTS OF THE HUMAN BODY?

Rosa230Description: Approximately 97,000 people in the United States alone are eagerly awaiting a life-saving kidney transplant. In 2012, almost 5,000 of the people on this list lost their lives due to the insufficient supply of donated organs. Kidney commodification, or the legalization of a kidney market is just one of the many proposed solutions to the rapid increase in individuals on the national kidney transplant waiting list. What is wrong with a system that could potentially save thousands of lives? This paper will address the implications of the legalization of a kidney market and consider the ethical complications that would go along with it. The paper will discuss the black market as well as supply and demand within the broader scope of utilitarianism in addition to the autonomy of the donor and the recipient.  Read more…

 

XENOTRANSPLANTATION: IS IT WORTH THE RISK?

Girasole240v2Description: Of the 120,899 people on the transplant list, last year 6,500 of those people succumbed to the known fact that there just are not enough organs for everyone who needs one. What if there was another way to get an organ? Xenotransplantation presents another option for organ donation. Xenotransplantation is the procedure in which animals donate their organs, tissues or cells to prolong a patient’s life until a human organ can become available. It is an interim procedure that can save many lives; however it is not risk-free and raises many complex ethical issues. My paper focuses on the acceptability of using these animals as organ donors, the lack of a voice these animals have in the process and whether harming these animals is worth it if the transplant is unsuccessful.  Read more….

 

THE FACE TRANSPLANT: ARE DISFIGURED PEOPLE CHANGING THEIR IDENTITY?

Nestle230v5Description: A human’s natural instinct is to judge a person based on their outward appearance. Everyone always acknowledges a person by first looking at their face. So, what should a person like Richard Lee Norris do if they are severely disfigured and everyone is terrified to even look at them? Norris became facially deformed after he received a gunshot to the face as a young adult. After fifteen years of struggling to eat or to interact with others, Norris received a face transplant in 2012 that changed his life forever. A face transplant is a surgical procedure to replace all or part of a person’s face. In this case, practically all of Norris’ face transformed into an entirely new one due to the transplant of the donor’s skin tissues and facial features. Should people like Norris lose their ability to receive a face transplant because their outward appearance, or rather facial identity, is dramatically altered? My project specifically focuses on the severity of a person’s change in identity before and after a face transplant, as well as the role society plays in a disfigured person’s decision to undergo a transplantation.  Read more…

 

PERSPECTIVES OF COMFORT: DONORS IN THE XENOTRANSPLANTATION PROCESS

Hwang230Description: Xenotransplantation, the donation of non-human transplants to human recipients, is just one procedure that can help alleviate the stark gap between the number of recipients on the national organ donation waitlist and donors, both living and deceased.  With it come questions of the moral worth and treatment of donors.  Although this paper will not discuss the ethics of whether or not xenotransplantation itself is a morally sound procedure, it will explore the ideas within the protocol itself and the importance of comfort and painlessness during a medical procedure, aspects that are often neglected or forgotten in order to balance a certain hierarchy that is shaped by the restriction of resources.  Read more…

 

UNBORN HEROES: SHOULD PARENTS OF ANENCEPHALIC INFANTS HAVE THE RIGHT TO DONATE THEIR CHILD’S ORGANS?

Kaufman230Description: Every year 12,000 unborn fetuses are diagnosed with a missing brain and parts of their skull, a birth defect known as anencephaly. 2,000 are brought to term; none will survive more than a few days. These unborn infants, if brought to term, could save the lives of many infants in need, and could have the ability to give life without ever experiencing life for themselves.  Read more…

 

 

ALLOCATING ORGANS TO THOSE WITH DOWN SYNDROME: COMPLIANCE AS A SCAPEGOAT

Whelan2600Description: Should those with Down Syndrome have equal access to organs? Those with Down Syndrome are commonly denied placement on the organ waiting list, which is widely attributed to their low pre- and post- surgery medical compliance. However, there are no firm compliance standards and little evidence that those with Down Syndrome have bad compliance, especially with good support systems. Is compliance being abused in the transplant system, and are doctors judging the value of patients’ life rather than their health?  Read more…

 

THE EFFECTS OF DISQUALIFICATION: SOCIETY’S ROLE IN THE BLOOD DONATION SYSTEM

Donoghue300v3Description: Is donating blood a right or a privilege? Although blood donation might appear to be a somewhat simple process, only 38% of the United States population actually qualifies to participate. This project will explore the fairness of the qualifications that ban millions of Americans from donating blood by focusing on one of the most controversial regulations in the donation system today. This regulation protects recipients from HIV by prohibiting all men who have had sex with men, even once since 1977, from donating. Since the blood donation system has become increasingly safe for recipients due to medical advances in recent years, it is important to take into consideration the donor’s perspective and well-being. By examining the social and psychological effects that disqualification may have on a donor as well as the appropriate risk that all associated parties must accept, this project will assess the fairness of these regulations.  Read more…