Distributive Justice

Distributive Justice

The organ transplantation is vitally important for many patients suffering from serious diseases. At the same time, the lack of organ transplants raises serious problems because people that need organ transplants cannot receive them in time. In such a situation, the process of distribution of organ transplants because not only vitally question but it also raises ethical dilemma: which patients should get organ transplants first. On solving this dilemma specialists arrived to the idea of cutting in line for organ transplants and the case of Tood Krampitz illustrated how this system actually works. However, it became obvious that cutting in line for organ transplants, being a simple and presumable just system, turns to be far from ideal and even unethical.
On analyzing the implementation of the idea of cutting in line for organ transplants, it is necessary to point out the fact that this system basically focuses on the sequence of patients in which they appealed for medical assistance (Limentani, 1999). In other words, this system implies that the patient who comes first is the first who gets an opportunity to be served. At first glance, the system is just since many patients need organ transplantation and it is quite logical to operate patients who come first.
However, the cutting in line is rather a technical approach than a qualitative approach. What is meant here is the fact that the system of cutting in line functions perfectly well technically because logically it is absolutely correct. But, on profound reflections, it becomes obvious that from the qualitative point of view this system does not work at all. To put it more precisely, patients do need transplant organs, but, while taking a decision which patient should be served, it is important to take into account the actual physiological state of the patient. In other words, the extent to which patients may need the organ transplantation may differ. For instance, the patient, who comes the last, may need the organ transplantation more urgently than the patient who has come first because his actual state may be consistently worse than the state of the first patient (Benoff & Grauman, 1997). This means that the delay of the organ transplantation for the last patient is more likely to result in the death of the patient than the delay of the organ transplantation for the first patient.
In such a situation, an ethical dilemma, which patient should be served first, becomes particularly significant. On the one hand, the cutting in line system justifies the organ transplantation for the first patient, but, in the example described above, this will violate basic ethical norms of healthcare professionals since, in accordance with cutting in line, they will jut doom the last patient to die. In such a way, the ethical decision of this dilemma contradicts to the cutting in line for organ transplants principle.
Thus, in conclusion, it should be said that the cutting in line system may be really effective as long as it does not threat the life of patients. To put it more precisely, while taking the decision, it is necessary to rely on the actual state of the patient and his need in the operation, but not the line.


References:
Benoff, M., & Grauman, D. M. (1997). Mastering the physician integration challenge. Healthcare Financial Management; Westchester; Jan 1997.
Limentani, A. E. (1999, October). The role of ethical principles in health care and the implications for ethical codes. Journal of Medical Ethics 25 (5), 394-399.
Ascension Health (2005). Key Ethical Principles. Retrieved on
November 17, 2007, from http://www.ascensionhealth.org/ethics/public/key_principles/main.asp
Kellog Library (2003). Bioethics - Introduction and Definition.
Retrieved on November 17, 2007, from http://www.library.dal.ca/kellogg/Bioethics/definition.htm.
St. James Ethics Center (2006). Ethical Dilemmas of the Month.
Retrieved on November 17, 2007, from
http://www.ethics.org.au/things_to_do/dilemma_of_the_month/