The Murder of Oneself

Last Saturday, we discussed about the Healthcare Ethics which it emphasizes dignity and respect for persons. Although the principles in Ethics are already discussed by the reporters, we also review it again and clarify important points. Autonomy, paternalism, standard of best interest, nonmaleficence, beneficence, justice, fidelity, veracity and confidentiality are the topics that we discussed under healthcare ethics. In this blog, I wanted to relate these in just one bioethical issue and I chose Suicide.  

When I was just a little girl, I always seen in television and wonder why people put the gun in his own head, stab a knife to himself, put a rope in his neck, in short, they are trying to kill themselves. My father told me that they were committing what we call as suicide because they were sick of their life right now and they have problems that they can’t handle. My father also told me that life is given by God and He has the right to take away it from us at the right time, not us. That’s why I promised not to do engage into this activity. The second time I heard the word suicide is when I watched the local news channel where the Law student shot a gun to himself because he wasn’t able to pass the bar exam. Then I thought to myself, why would he do that? Why does he have to take away his own life? What if he really doesn’t belong in that profession and God has other plans for him?

Yes, suicide it is. I don’t know why people engage in this stuff when there are more reasons to live for. I’ve read a blog about 6 reasons why people commit suicide.  The top answer is because of depression.  The pain of existence often becomes too much for severely depressed people to bear. I personally do believe that depression is the reason behind suicide.

Why do people commit suicide? I made up my own acronym for the word SUICIDE.

pSychiatric disorder

Upset or depressed

Impulsive

Crying out for Help

Illness

Disrupted family life

Empty feeling

Suicide is the intentional taking of one’s own life. It is the murder of oneself. Suicide is very different from self-sacrifice, avoidable martyrdom, engaging in life risking activities, refusal to prolong one’s life through medical treatment, euthanasia, overdosing and self-inflicted death that is the result of coercion. It is different in such a way that suicide is the voluntary termination of life while the rest aims to perpetuate and defend values.

There are three types of suicide.

Assisted Suicide = Voluntary Action

Facilitated Suicide = Involuntary Action

Unassisted Suicide = Nonvoluntary Action

Now let us relate Suicide in the ethical principles.

Autonomy. By being autonomous and having the freedom to make choices, sometimes we make decisions that might benefit or harm ourselves. Having the right to make choices makes us think we have the right to commit suicide. The claim that we have a right to noninterference regarding suicide holds that suicide is permitted so long as, leaving aside questions of duties to others, it is rationally chosen, or to put it in a Kant’s Ethics, if it is undertaken autonomously. People have the right to choose from themselves that’s why they commit suicide.

Paternalism. Acting in a fatherly manner just like in a traditional family. Many are against paternalism because it violates autonomy or the right to choose with accord to his own will and freedom. Those who against suicide, we can say that they are paternalist. Paternalism is only done for the common good and what is the best for that person.

Beneficence. This ethical principle is doing good, preventing evil and removing evil. We all have this innate beneficence in us that made us prevent doing bad things as possible. To commit suicide is wrong. That’s why we must not commit this because of beneficence.

Non-maleficence. Non-maleficence is to do no harm. Being a non-maleficent student nurse, I will not anyone commit suicide because it will just harm himself. The right thing to do is to provide counseling to that suicidal individual to avoid hurting himself and other people.

Veracity. Means truthfulness. Finding out that my patient will commit suicide, veracity is important because we have to tell the physician our findings to avoid any harm.  Confidentiality and veracity are two contrasting principles. We must be very wise in choosing our move. Remember that what is the best for our client is the most important thing.

Confidentiality. Confidentiality is the ethical principle that requires nondisclosure of private or secret information with which one is entrusted. To commit suicide comes in a person’s thought because of her anxiety and depression. I really think it is better if I will disclose his suicide plans to other health care officials like the physician for he can make goals, plans and interventions for that person. Once the diagnosis has been recognized, the health care professionals will collaborate to help that person prevent suicide. Before notifying the physician, I will help her by being myself and listen to him to give him hope and to avoid committing suicide. Giving someone the opportunity to express his or her feelings can provide relief from loneliness and pent-up negative feelings, and may prevent a suicide attempt. If he changes her mind that easily, there is no need to disclose any information to others.

Suicide, according to the Thomistic Ethics or the Natural Laws Ethics, was an unrepentable sin.  Aquinas (1271) defended this prohibition on three grounds. First, suicide is contrary to natural self-love, whose aim is to preserve us. Second, suicide injures the community of which an individual is a part. Third, suicide violates our duty to God because God has given us life as a gift and in taking our lives we violate His right to determine the duration of our earthly existence.  Suicide violates the natural law God has created to govern the natural world and human existence. This natural law can be conceived of in terms of (a) natural causal laws, such that suicide violates this causal order, (b) teleological laws, according to which all natural beings seek to preserve themselves, or (c) the laws governing human nature, from which it follows that suicide is unnatural. (Pabst Battin, 1996)

Also, the Divine Command Theory can be related to this matter. The Divine Command Theory holds that an act is either moral or immoral solely because God either commands us to do it or prohibits us from doing it, respectively. This views that God, not the human beings, has the moral authority to determine the circumstances of our deaths. We are God’s property, therefore it is wrong to destroy His property without His own will. Another thing is that God bestows life upon us a gift and it would be a mark of ingratitude or neglect to reject that gift by taking our lives. According to Ramsey (1978), we owe God a debt of gratitude for our lives, and so to kill ourselves would be disrespectful or even insulting to God or would amount to an irresponsible use of this gift.

Suicide is wrong because it violates our moral duty to honor the inherent value of human life, regardless of the value of that life to others or to the person whose life it is.

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Applying Moral Principles in Abortion

Autonomy and Paternalism

The role of patient and that of healer, and the implied responsibilities of each, have varied throughout history and in different cultures. In some cultures, decisions regarding “what is best” for the patient are deferred to the healer, who is presumed to know what will bring about healing. Indeed, until the recent years, the physicians are always viewed in this light. Such paternalism has been challenged in recent years, and greater emphasis has been placed on the role and rights of patient self-determination.

The concept of medical paternalism and patient autonomy are two polarized extremes that have so much to do with the decision making for the patient’s recovery with his illness. Nevertheless, decision-making would be so much easier if we all maintained our autonomy in making the decision, however, because our decisions do not always abide by autonomistic values, paternalistic intervention must occur.32

As a reporter in our class about the concepts of autonomy, I personally think that I do understand the idea regarding this particular matter. Autonomy is more like self-governing. The term denotes having the freedom to make choices regarding issues that may affect one’s life. Patients have the right to exercise their autonomy through self-determination. It is also their human right to practice their autonomy and it’s the duty of the health care professionals to respect it.

The other side, paternalism is a gender-biased term that literally means acting in a fatherly manner. The concept of paternalism in the health care arena translates to professionals who restrict others’ autonomy, usually to protect that person from perceived or anticipated harm. It deprives the patient’s rights to choose things freely based on his decisions. The principle of beneficence is always at the back of paternalism.

Although we didn’t discuss about beneficence yet, I would like to talk about this principle because there is no way that we can discuss paternalism without beneficence. The principle of beneficence is one that requires nurses to act in ways that benefit patients.

Beneficence

Do or Promote Good

Prevent Harm

Remove Evil or Harm

Physicians always do what is the best for their patient –what is good for them. “We know what’s best for you even though you may not understand it.” –they know everything which means they know what the best intervention to execute. Paternalism is in place to protect the rights that are in our best interest and that will benefit us in the long run.  Also, it is mainly used in large decisions in people’s lives, decisions that involve high stakes.

In Relation to Biothical Issue

I would like to relate this issue to this bioethical issue. This issue that I chose is about Abortion.

I’ve known about abortion, specifically inevitable abortion, since it is our case study when we were under Ma’am Licaros for our duty in Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center (GABMMC). Our chosen patient is aged 15 years old, not a typical age for a pregnant woman. Yes, indeed, her age is very young to experience this kind of matter. However, her type of abortion is inevitable. That is, the process of expulsion of products of conception has become irreversible. The expulsion of products of conception has not occurred but it is bound to happen and nothing can be done to stop this process.

Going back to the main topic which is abortion or in this case, is the one that is voluntary, let us discover what is the true meaning when we define the word Abortion.

Values in relation to life are fundamental considerations in regard to abortion. Such values include beliefs about when life begins, considerations regarding quality of life for children who are unwanted, and concerns about the mother’s life and health. Some believe that life starts at conception, while others hold that life begins only begins when a fetus is viable outside the womb. Discussions about viability continue to change as technology enables the survival of babies of lower and lower birth weights, and results in saving some imperiled newborns of the same gestational age as some aborted fetuses.

Issues on the mother’s autonomy arise regarding their right to control her body and her life, or their right to choose, in contrast to rights of the unborn fetus to a chance of life or its right to live. The mother has its autonomy to decide for herself and the living creature in her womb. It’s her choice if she will continue the life of her unborn fetus and stop being remorseful to all the things that has happened.

However, there are many pro-life who ban abortion. That is, for the benefit of child and they say that it is wrong to violate the right to live. This situation is a justification that autonomy is violated. I said that if there is paternalism, there is always beneficence or should I say, the promotion of good. Even though not medically, but still paternalistic is present in this situation –violating the right of the mother to choose her preferred action for herself and the fetus in her womb.

Those in the right-to-live camp believe that abortion constitutes murder of an unborn person, suggesting that it is a legal as well as an ethical matter. This has raised questions about role of government in dealing with this ethical concern. Those who hold to the right to choose maintain that the right to privacy regarding health care decisions includes a woman’s reproductive choices, implying that governmental regulation is an infringement on this privacy.

We, as nurses must apply veracity, or the practice of telling the truth. If a confused woman who came for us to have an advice regarding abortion. We must tell them what we think and apply beneficence. We must know the patient’s culture and beliefs. In that way, we can manage to say our own opinion and apply veracity as a moral principle.

As far as my parents taught me, depriving the right to live of a person is a very wrong thing. It is a sin. I am absolutely a pro-life kind of person. As a Christian, I believe that we must consider the life of others. That’s why I do believe that abortion is an immoral act that nobody must commit.

Euthanasia: A Utilitarian Perspective

There are many bioethical issues to discuss but I’d rather choose the Euthanasia to relate to our moral theory, the famous utilitarianism. The utilitarianism is complete and integrated and is one of the major theory central to nursing, alongside deontology.

A hundred and years ago, to question the absolute worth of human life is a very important matter. Committing suicide is hindered by the society and doing this is unethical. In relation to this thought, asking a doctor to help someone’s life to end i s really absurd. Up until this present time, physicians who were assisting and allowing their patients to be killed or commit suicide remains a very confusing thought, both legally and morally. In this blog I will discuss the moral permissibility of Euthanasia.

Although most of my blockmates discussed about this particular topic, I would still love to express my inner feelings and opinions for this matter. So Euthanasia goes like this. When a patient has a fatal disease and has no view of future recoveries, they weren’t able to receive prolonging treatment rather, they die in an artless way. This artless way of death is what we call as Euthanasia.

However, Euthanasia is roughly classified into two —active and passive. The active one is making one die or what we refer to as killing. The other one, which is the passive, is letting or allowing one to die. Passive euthanasia occurs when the patient dies because the medical professionals either don’t do something necessary to keep the patient alive, or when they stop doing something that is keeping the patient alive. On the other hand, active euthanasia is done with more active means such as the use of potassium chloride, muscle-relaxing medicine and so on.

Animals, child, non-voluntary, involuntary and voluntary —are the types of Euthanasia.  But for this blog, I chose what I think I can elaborate in a beautiful manner, and for this reason I probably prefer Voluntary Euthanasia or in other words, death in a painful manner, to be my topic.

To make it simple, let’s make it hypothetical. Suppose I ask you to either kill me or let me die, that my medical condition gets so bad and that I am delirious and won’t recover. If you then comply to my request, we have what we call as Voluntary Euthanasia. We call it as voluntary because the person killed wanted to end his life.

Our main argument for Euthanasia is a Utilitarian one. Utilitarians believe that any action should cause the greatest happiness for the greatest number, and the end result is what should determine the moral worth of the initial action. Since Euthanasia will increase happiness and decrease pain at the same time, then it is morally correct, they argued.

If we are about to calculate the resulting actions, Euthanasia will increase the utiles of a terminally ill patient but decreases the utiles that represents the pain.  The level of pain and the progression of the disease would also render the person unable to enjoy the activities that made his life pleasurable, so there could be no higher intellectual or emotional pleasures to balance the physical pain. At best, the person continues to suffer at the negative seven; if his illness has not reached its climax, his suffering may increase. In contrast, his death will create a value of zero, and thus misery is reduced. Moreover, his family and friends will be spared the pain of watching him suffer through a prolonged illness.

Utilitarians also do believe that one has complete sovereign over their body and any decisions to be made about one’s body are up to them and no other authority. If a person volunteers to die in his own will, then it is their right to make his decision and people, even the government, has no right to interfere.

Another thing regarding Euthanasia,  traditional utilitarian justifications against killing do not apply. According to Singer, the reason that randomly killing innocent people is morally wrong for a rule utilitarian is that people would suffer considerable anxiety from knowing that their life could be terminated at any point in time.

Lastly, one must not choose Euthanasia easily because everyone must consider the objection that perhaps a sudden cure for an individual’s illness could be discovered. There are many newly discovered researches about remedies for terminally-ill patients. The reason why no one should lose their hopes.

It’s up to us whether we should use utilitarianism as the based for our beliefs in this issue.  Such a policy also answers a common objection to euthanasia —which people suffering from crippling pain are not rational enough to decide that they want to die.

MORAL THEORY: A CONSEQUENSIALIST APPROACH

Ethics is the practical application of moral philosophy. That is, given the moral context of what is good or bad, right or wrong. Each theory is based upon is based upon the viewpoint of the individual philosopher and maintains within itself its philosophical consistency.

CONSEQUENCE-BASED THEORIES

Let us first scrutinize the Consequence-based theories. This kind of theory is based on its results judging whether that particular act is right or wrong. If the action is morally right, it is the one that will produce good consequence for a particular person.

So in this case, we have to weigh the outcomes. This leaves us a moral standard like this –a good action is the one that, as it appears, to maximize our happiness.

Consequentialist theorists are being criticize because it seems that they do not attribute any value to moral agents and such. Sometimes, our rights for humanity are violated. For example, John killed Jimmy. To make up for the loss, John will create a same individual whose characteristics and personality is the same as Jimmy’s. Let’s assume that Jimmy’s life is worth 20 utiles. Things will come into our mind like “Why can I not kill Jimmy, provided that I can also make another person whose life worth is 20 utiles or measurement of goodness too or more?” Still, we therefore say that the consequentialist theory gave us a wrong result, even though we augmented it so that it assigns intrinsic value to Jimmy himself and takes this value into account in determining one’s permissible courses of action.

Yes indeed, killing someone still violates the right to live of mankind.  In other words, any act that violates someone else’s rights has associated to a large net negative value of utiles which I personally think is cannot be replaced by someone.

The very important point of this particular issue is that the intrinsic cost of the act depends upon the nature of the action itself and not the consequence of it. The reason why killing Jimmy for no reason requires a greater intrinsic cost. However, if Jimmy is killed without anyone’s fault, it requires no intrinsic cost for anyone. Though the cost of life would still be.

Another thing, Consequentialism may also be criticized because it would blame people when they have made the world worse on accident. Some may feel that people can be rightly criticized for accidents, but others feel that accidents are exempt from moral consequences.

 

Objection to Consequentialism

  1. Doing the best consequences may violate the individual’s interests and rights.
  2. It is an impersonal theory concerned more with aggregative question of “how much” of some good there would be than with the distributive question “who” should have it.

 

Types of Consequence-based theories

Utilitarianism

The first one is Utilitarianism. This is a form of teleological theory that holds that an action is judged as good or bad in relation to the consequence, outcome, or end result that is derived from it. According to the utilitarian school of thought, right action is that which has great utility or usefulness. No action is, in itself either good or bad. Utilitarians hold that the only factors that make actions good or bad are the outcomes, or end results that are derived from them.

Though utilitarianism is a widely accepted ethical theory, there are a few problems inherent in its use. Utilitarianism doesn’t give that much thought to respect of persons. In fact, it is really possible that harm can be done just to achieve overall good.

For example, Joni needed some money for the operation of her sick mother. She pleaded everyone to help her but they just rejected her. So, Joni broke into her neighbor’s house and stole some money. She used this money for her mother to live longer. It just so happened that Joni promoted happiness to her by helping her dying mother to live longer. Nevertheless, she just made a sin of stealing. In this case, harm was done in the name of overall good.

Another problem is that calculating all the possible consequences is merely impossible.  It is because it requires us to assign values to every action that we will make –if it is beneficial or harmful. However, it is difficult, if not impossible, to calculate our actions and to predict the benefits and harms resulting from our course of act. We all have different thoughts and feelings. One may differ from another. One may think that this action is good. Others may think that is morally bad.  How do we go about comparing the value of money with, for example, the value of life, the value of time, or the value of human dignity? This is utterly dubious, I must say.

Situation Ethics

Next is Situation Ethics. This is a Christian ethical theory that was developed by Joseph Fletcher. There are three approaches: (1) Legalistic. With this approach one enters into every decision making situation encumbered with a whole apparatus of prefabricated rules and regulations. (2) Antinomianism. Over against legalism, as a sort of polar opposite, we can put antinomianism. This is the approach with which one enters into the decision making situation armed with no principles or maxims whatsoever, to say nothing of rules. (3) Situationism. A third approach, in between legalism and antinomianism unprincipledness, is situation ethics. According to this approach, all decisions should be based on love. The only absolute is love and love should be behind every intention.

Out of these three, I wanted to discuss Situationism approach. I chose this one because we discussed it in our Christian church by our very own church head in Church of God (COG), Pastor Anthony Velasco. He talks about the three types of Christian love: the philia, eros and agape.

(1)   Philia. Yes, we could recognize the word Philia from Philidelphia, a state in United States also known as brotherly love. This kind of love is friendship and affectionate kind of love. A naturally-occurring kind of love between families, friends, relatives and societies. Although philia is wonderful, it too is not reliable since it is also held captive by the shifting sands of situation as well as by ours and other’s perceptions and expectations. In the Bible, Philia is not the kind of word used to commend the word love.

(2)   Eros. This is the kind of love that I personally think teenagers and so is adults usually talk about. This type of love covers everything from the butterflies in our stomach and warm fuzzy feelings to strong sensual passion. It is when people smiles and say “I’m in love!”   Although Eros at times might make us feel like we are on cloud nine, it cannot provide a reliable basis for building a deep and meaningful relationship since it is so fickle and dependent upon perception and circumstances.

(3)   Agape. The “unconditional love.” The highest of all kind. This is the real meaning of love and was seen in the Bible. This is the kind of love we feel for our spouse, children and God. Agape was appropriated by Christians for use to express the unconditional love of God. Before agape love there was no other word to express such great love.

Link to Situation ethics is based on six fundamentals.

I do believe that Situational Ethics gives us freedom. In the way that we can choose what is the right and wrong thing to do. It gives us an authority to do something in our own will.

However, Situational ethics depends on the individual’s appraisal of situations. A person, even with the finest of  intentions, cannot foresee every consequence of an action, nor realize the number likely to be affected by it.

Critics say that Situational Ethics is quite vague. In the sense that everyone will say that “The most moral thing to do is the thing that I love.” But when you outlines what “The most loving thing to do is, it says that the most loving thing to do is the thing that is the most just.” And it goes around circles.

In an era today that some have characterized as “the age of self-interest,” utilitarianism and situational ethics is a powerful reminder that morality calls us to look beyond the self to the good of all.

The Good Boy, Good Girl Stage of Moral Development

Lawrence Kohlberg’s moral development is an adaptation of Jean Piaget’s developmental theory. It is made six stages of moral reasoning which are grouped into three major levels for his research. Each of these levels signified a fundamental shift in the social-moral perspective of the individual.

After I read all of the stages of Kohlberg’s theory, the Stage 3 of Interpersonal Relationship grabs my attention. So I finally decided that I will write something about it. As I will discuss about the stage 3 of moral development, I will relate it to the Heinz’s dilemma to make it easier to understand. The Stage 3 or Good Interpersonal Relationship is under Level II which is Conventional Morality.

The Next Level: Conventional Morality

So what’s with Conventional Morality?

  • Composed of 3rd and 4th stages of moral development
  • Typical for adolescence and adults
  • Performing right roles
  • Characterized as accepting the society’s convention against right and wrong.
  • The individual obeys the rules and follows the society’s norms even when there are no punishments or reward for its obedience and disobedience.
  • Morality is seen as achieving these expectations.
  • Individuals understand what is expected from them by their family, peers etc.

The Good Interpersonal Relationship– Stage 3

Now that we have a glimpse on what is Conventional Level about, we can now focus on one of its stages which will be the main point of discussion for this blog post. The stage that we’re talking about is the Stage 3 or what we call as Good Interpersonal Relationship.

The third stage of moral thinking is not reached by the majority of the adulthood according to the theorist himself, Kohlberg. The reason –still unknown. Apparently, critics say that most women were stock by this stage. In this stage, the expectation of others is the guideline of each individual.  As they try to fit in their society, they see morality as more than simple deals.

They were able to understand what is expected from them by their parents, peers, instructors and others. The reason why they try to be a “good boy” or a “good girl” is to live up to these expectations, having learned that there is inherent value in doing so. In living these expectations, they were observed to behave in numerous ways. To have a ‘Good Behavior’ one must have their good motives and do good for the sake of the society. Individuals must also show love, empathy, trust and concern for others to meet their expectations.

Heinz’s Dilemma

Let us relate the third stage of moral development to Heinz’s dilemma, one of the question in the Kohlberg’s Questionnaire.

Heinz Steals the Drug

“In Europe, a woman was near death from a special kind of cancer. There was one drug that the doctors thought might save her. It was a form of radium that a druggist in the same town had recently discovered. The drug was expensive to make, but the druggist was charging ten times what the drug cost him to make. He paid $200 for the radium and charged $2,000 for a small dose of the drug.

The sick woman’s husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money, but he could only get together about $ 1,000 which is half of what it cost. He told the druggist that his wife was dying and asked him to sell it cheaper or let him pay later. But the druggist said: “No, I discovered the drug and I’m going to make money from it.” So Heinz got desperate and broke into the man’s store to steal the drug-for his wife. Should the husband have done that?” (Kohlberg, 1963).

People in this stage would naturally believe that Heinz was right to steal the drug because he wants to help his wife. Any man would do anything for his wife to survive any longer, they argue. Heinz just wanted to be a good husband and he tried to do everything he could without breaking the law. We cannot blame him for his wrong deeds.

Also, some may say that Heinz is should not steal the drug because stealing is bad and he is not a real criminal. And it doesn’t meet the expectations of the society because they may not understand Heinz’s situation at that point. However, they argue that the druggist should be the one to blame, not Heinz. They emphasize that the druggist is greedy, selfish and is not interested in prolonging others’ lives.

As evidenced, a 13 year old boy’s opinion to Heinz’s dilemma is:

It was really the druggist’s fault, he was unfair, trying to overcharge and letting someone die. Heinz loved his wife and wanted to save her. I think anyone would. I don’t think they would put him in jail. The judge would look at all sides, and see that the druggist was charging too much. (Kohlberg, 1963, p. 25)

The 13 year old perceives the druggist as a bad man and should be put into jail for being unfair and for letting someone die. He sees a good man Heinz, a bad druggist and an understandable judge. His answer was really under conventional morality because it shows that anyone would be right to do what Heinz did.

My thoughts. In stage 3.

I tried to answer the ethical questions about Heinz’s dilemma and as my answers shows, it’s kinda Stage 3-like type of observation. In my opinion, Heinz is so not to blame. He loved his wife enough that he wanted her to live longer by looking for a remedy for her disease. Although his way is getting out of track which is stealing, I personally do believe that his only focus is prolonging his wife’s life that he doesn’t care whether his actions were right or not. People do crazy stuffs when they’re in love, indeed. I empathize with Heinz. I would probably do the same if I were in his shoes.

In stage 3, references say that people tried to be good girls and good boys. I most likely to believe with that, I must say. It is because in that stage, I wanted to please everyone based on my actions and live up with their expectations. My desires to be liked of and well thought of is dominating. I don’t want to be recognized as the ‘naughty girl’ by everybody. But deep inside I know that I’m being too stubborn and always walking towards the unwanted path. I feel disappointed whenever I do bad stuffs but in my point of view, it is inevitable.

The truth is, I even know what stage of the theory of moral development am I at this time. I will always do the right thing though.

The Organ Shortage: Scarcity of Organ Donors Relative to the Number of Potential Recipients

Heart: An Organ

          It seems there is nothing to question about the ethics of transplanting organs. Apparently, thousands of people were given chance to continue their existence through the selfless altruism of other philanthropic person who are willing to give a part of their body. Those are people who chose to find hope in the middle of catastrophe. As a matter of fact, organ transplantation becomes the greatest achievement of modern surgery.

                Honestly, if we scrutinize this particular matter, right under the surface lurks a morass of ethical dilemmas and controversies which have threatened to undermine the entire practice of transplanting organs. The main issue in donating organs is the scarcity of organ donors relative to the number of potential recipients on organ donation waiting lists.

Make More Miracle

         Just like our resources, transplantable organs are scarce. There is larger number of recipients than the number of donors. The reason why 5,000 human being in the waiting lists die every year before receiving their suitable organ for survival. Actually, according to researches, an average of 106 people in each nation is added to organ transplantation waiting list each day. However, only an average of 68 people receive their suitable organ from a living or deceased donor. A total of 17 patients die every day while waiting for their organ to arrive.

           Yes, people do die upon waiting for their desired organ. The reason why these various ethical questions arise:

  1. Should someone who has received one organ transplant be given a second transplant? Or should people who have not had transplant be given priority over those who have already one?

    • This question makes a lot of sense. That is to say, why don’t we prioritize those people who are their first time undergoing organ transplantation? On the other hand, those people wanted to continue their life which is their right.
  2. Should people whose lifestyle choices such as smoking, drinking, drug use, obesity, etc. damaged their organ be given a chance at an organ transplant?

    • For instance, an alcoholic person, should they be denied new livers because they “deserve” what has happened to them? What if these people asked for repentance and wanted to survive to make a huge difference in their life.
  3. Should suicidal individuals be given an organ transplant? What if they attempted suicide in the pat but are not currently contemplating suicide?

    • People question these suicidal human beings like why should they be given a chance to survive if they attempted to lose their lives. But what if they wanted to change also?
  4. Should people who have young children be given an organ transplant over a single person? Over an elderly person? Should age and whether or not a person has children even matter?

    • We ask if children be given a chance to survive longer that’s why we have to prioritize younger than old human beings.
  5. Should people who can’t afford expensive anti-rejection drugs be passed over for a transplant? Should people who don’t have insurance and can’t pay for a transplant be allowed to go on the national waiting list?

    • Mostly, these procedures only applies to people that are rich, powerful and has lots of insurances. But should the choice of who gets new organs also depend upon social worth?
  6. Should condemned prisoners receive organ transplants? What if they are serving a life sentence without parole?

    • They say these prisoners will also die somehow that’s why they shouldn’t be given a chance for organ transplantation. But what if they wanted to extend their existence to make a change also?

Donor Card

          Out of these debatable questions, we may choose one over the other. The chief problem is how we fairly divide the organs for those who need it. That is why they made two contradicting ways of distributing organs. The first is the equal access which has the criteria of:

  • Length of time waiting (First come, first serve basis)

  • Age (youngest to oldest)

         Those who are in support of this criteria says that because the medical procedure in organ transplantation is worthy, everyone should access it equally. The second one is the maximum benefit. Its goal is to maximize the number of successful transplants. Criteria for this are:

  • Medical need (The sickest people are given the first opportunity for a transplantable organ)

  • Probable success of a transplant (i.e. giving organs to the person who will be most likely to live the longest)

          The supporters of this criterion defend that the organs should be given to those who need it the most so that these donated organs will not go to waste.

       These two criteria are debatable and very opposing. That’s why United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) encourages transplant centers to consider the following criteria for distributing organs:

     1) Medical need

     2) Probability of success

     3) Time on the waiting list

     Those who are in verge of death desperately needs to undergo organ transplantation. Their only focus is to survive. We should point out that, those dying patients continue to receive aggressive, curative treatment when they should be receiving more caring and holistic treatment.

Donate Life

Cloning: The Playing God

          For almost a decade, there has been heated controversies here and there about the topic of cloning human beings. It was noted that cloning has been a breakthrough in the scientific field. This particular ingenuity has proved that the knowledge of great thinkers has never lost for they discover the use of cloning that it enables infertile procreation. Nevertheless, cloning isn’t specifically mentioned in the Bible which is why many alleged that cloning is not moral. Is cloning ethical or not? Should it be pursued?

   It all began when the research team in Scotland successfully announced that they cloned a sheep named Dolly from the udder cells of a ewe. The declaration of Dolly’s birth fascinated enormous press interest, perhaps because Dolly drew attention to the theoretical possibility of cloning humans. It was pointed out that the cloning of Dolly was “therapeutic” which suggests possible beneficial applications of cloning, which at the present time seem completely unjustified. The procedure in was simple enough that it would be possible that even for a human to be cloned.

‘Dolly’ the successfully cloned sheep

        The cloning of Dolly gave birth to the cloning of several mammal species that has resulted in many live births. Pigs, sheep, cows, cats, rodents and, most recently, a mule have been successfully cloned. The purpose of having the exact replica of the animals is to facilitate the genetic engineering of them. Animal cloning interests some food and drug industries if it could result in consistently.

        Animal cloning brought to the forefront a longstanding debate about cloning human beings. The possibility of human cloning has long fired the popular imagination, including in the world of popular entertainment like in the Island and The 6th day which are popular movies about cloning human beings. Human cloning was proved to have lots of benefits to mankind. The use of in-vitro methods of fertilization, donor eggs, donor sperm, and surrogate mothers has proved to be effective treatments for infertility.  Cloning technology might allow any couple or individual to reproduce with minimal genetic input from another part. It can provide significant research and possible spin-off technologies that can be related to reproduction and development. Cloning also can help cure diseases like diabetes and stroke. Scientists assured that cloning causes no harm to other people in a society. Prohibiting it, though, would violet the freedom of scientific inquiring.

                                   Korean Research in Dog Cloning

      Contrariwise, cloning is not written nor mentioned in the Bible. The only two verity that is indicated in the book of God is first, life begins early in the womb and second, God forms life. As proven in Psalms 100:3, ‘Know that the LORD Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves,’ God is the only Author of all life not the humans he made. This is the reason why cloning was believed to be the ‘Playing God’. This argument assumes that someone knows God’s intentions. That is why many religious groups find cloning unethical.

Medical Solution

        I do believe that cloning is an immoral act. Aside from my beliefs as a Christian, I do also consider individuality and uniqueness. It may disregard the normality of each individuals and naturally born twins. Another thing is that medical procedures for researches which are risky and needs and may affect different lives. It was also proven that those clones that do survive suffer from genetic abnormalities. Similar to the situation of Dolly, the clone cells of her ages abruptly thus shortening her lifespan.

         Cloning was torn to the choice of hope and fear. Hope in giving forth of infertile procreation and prolonging life. Fear of the Lord and breaking the principles and laws of ethics. Cloning is a tool that can be good or bad according to the way it is put into use. However, the fundamental value of human dignity remains a touchstone to guide us choosing the path right and wrong.

         It’s up to us whether we agree or not. Let us widen our minds in this particular issue. What important is what we believe in and what we think is best for the mankind.

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