Living donors: options and meanings

Transplantation. 2003 Oct 27;76(8):1267-9. doi: 10.1097/01.TP.0000087836.58112.62.


Both the phenomenologic study by Lennerling and colleagues and the case study by Dwyer raise interesting moral issues. Lennerling et al.'s finding that prospective kidney donors understood their decisions as "the only option" invites further examination into how donors understand this phrase, because, as ordinarily construed, it seems false; other options do exist for patients undergoing renal failure. Dwyer's case challenges our moral understanding of transplantation at an even deeper level, presenting us with a possible example of an instance of organ provision, not as a "gift" to the recipient, but as a "shield" for a third party. There is no existing moral consensus that surgeons or other health professionals may gravely worsen the health and threaten the lives of healthy people on the grounds that someone other than their patients may be benefited.

MeSH terms

  • Ethics, Medical*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Living Donors*
  • Morals