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PHI FPX 3200 Assessment 4 Robbing the Dead: Is Organ Conscription Ethical?


Capella University

PHI FPX 3200 Ethics in Health Care

Prof. Name


Robbing the Deceased: Examining the Ethics of Organ Conscription

Organ transplantation represents a critical medical intervention for individuals suffering from organ failure. However, the persistent shortage of donor organs poses a significant challenge, resulting in prolonged waiting lists and compromised health outcomes. To tackle this issue, the concept of organ conscription has emerged, involving the procurement of organs from deceased individuals without their explicit consent (Pemberton, 2022). Nevertheless, this practice raises profound ethical dilemmas concerning the autonomy and dignity of the deceased, alongside concerns about fairness and equity in organ allocation systems. This analysis delves into the ethical considerations surrounding conscripted organ procurement and emphasizes the necessity of regulating the availability of donated organs.

Moral Implications of Organ Conscription

Organ transplantation holds immense potential for saving countless lives annually. However, the persisting shortage of donor organs results in prolonged suffering for those awaiting transplantation. In the United States alone, over 100,000 individuals await organ transplantation, with kidneys, livers, hearts, lungs, and pancreases being the most commonly transplanted organs (American Transplant Foundation, 2019). Organ conscription, while proposed as a solution to this scarcity, raises ethical concerns regarding the dignity and consent of the deceased (Zambrano, 2023). Moreover, there exists a risk of exploiting vulnerable populations without adequate safeguards, potentially compromising the validity of informed consent and introducing unfairness in organ distribution (Martínez-López et al., 2022).

Comparative Analysis of Organ Donation Policies

Diverse approaches to organ donation policies exist worldwide, each entailing distinct ethical considerations concerning informed consent and patient autonomy. In the United States, organ donation operates on an opt-in system, necessitating explicit registration of consent from individuals prior to donation. This approach underscores the importance of respecting patient autonomy and ensuring informed decision-making (Ahmad et al., 2019).

Ethical Dimensions of Fairness and Justice

Access to organ transplantation is indispensable for individuals facing organ failure. Nonetheless, the limited availability of organs engenders disparities in access and allocation practices, exacerbating existing inequalities. In the absence of policies for pre-death consent in the US, harvesting organs from the deceased raises ethical and moral quandaries, potentially exacerbating disparities in access to life-saving treatments (Golden, 2022).

Strategies for Enhancing Public Acceptance

Addressing the scarcity of available organs necessitates bolstering public acceptance of organ donation through multifaceted strategies encompassing education, community engagement, legislative reforms, and family discussions (Lewis et al., 2020).

Significance of Consent in Organ Donation

Consent lies at the heart of ethical organ donation practices, epitomizing the principles of autonomy and self-determination. Regardless of the adopted model, obtaining explicit consent remains imperative to uphold ethical and legal standards (Childress, 2022).

Consequences of Absent Donor Consent

The absence of donor consent can precipitate violations of individual autonomy, exacerbate disparities in access to transplantation, and raise concerns about justice and equity (Hutchinson et al., 2019).

Exploring Alternative Policies for Organ Availability

Addressing the dearth of available donor organs entails exploring alternative policies, such as presumed consent models and educational initiatives, to bolster participation rates and streamline organ procurement processes (Steffel et al., 2019).

Consequences of Prolonged Organ Shortages

Continued organ shortages precipitate adverse consequences, including heightened mortality rates, exacerbated health disparities, and resort to illicit organ markets, underscoring the urgency of adopting effective strategies to bolster organ availability (Neizer et al., 2020).


In conclusion, while organ transplantation holds immense promise for saving lives, the persistent scarcity of donor organs necessitates ethical scrutiny of alternative procurement methods such as organ conscription. Strategies to bolster public acceptance and explore alternative policies are imperative to address the underlying issues and ensure equitable access to life-saving treatments.


Ahmad, G., & Steege, R. (2019). Ethical and legal issues surrounding organ donation. StatPearls Publishing.

American Transplant Foundation. (2019). Organ donation statistics. American Transplant Foundation.

PHI FPX 3200 Assessment 4 Robbing the Dead: Is Organ Conscription Ethical?

Childress, J. F. (2022). Robert Veatch’s transplantation ethics: Obtaining and allocating organs from deceased persons. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics.

Golden, J. M. (2022). Ethical issues in organ transplantation. StatPearls Publishing.

Hutchinson, A., Lederer, S., & Raza, S. (2019). Informed consent in living organ donation. The New England Journal of Medicine, 381(25), 2476–2482.

Lewis, A., Koukoura, A., Tsianos, G.-I., Gargavanis, A. A., Nielsen, A. A., & Vassiliadis, E. (2020). Organ donation in the US and Europe: The supply vs demand imbalance. Transplantation Reviews, 35(2), 100585.

Martínez-López, M. V., Díaz-Cobacho, G., Liedo, B., Rueda, J., & Molina-Pérez, A. (2022). Beyond the altruistic donor: Embedding solidarity in organ procurement policies. Philosophies, 7(5), 107.

Neizer, H., Singh, G. B., Gupta, S., & Singh, S. K. (2020). Addressing donor-organ shortages using extended criteria in lung transplantation. Annals of Cardiothoracic Surgery, 9(1), 49–50.

Pemberton, D. (2022). Biographical lives and organ conscription. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, 44(1), 75–93.

PHI FPX 3200 Assessment 4 Robbing the Dead: Is Organ Conscription Ethical?

Steffel, L., Ahmad, G., & Banning, A. (2019). Expanding organ donor criteria. StatPearls Publishing.

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