Getting a Heart Transplant at Hospital – Transplantation&Donation Example

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"Getting a Heart Transplant at Hospital" is a worthy example of a paper on transplantation and donation. A heart has recently become available to three people waiting for a transplant: Jerry, a 55-year-old male and father of three, Lisa, a 12-year-old female with a chronic auto-immune disorder, and Ozzy, a 38-year-old male who has damaged his heart through frequent drug use.   The heart needs to go to the person for whom it will do the most good – both in their life and for society as a whole, while still respecting the rights of each individual(Mill).   Complicating issues, Lisa’ s parents have offered to donate $2 million to the hospital’ s construction if she is able to get a heart transplant at this hospital.                   Firstly, the issue of this money must be eliminated from consideration.   Though the hospital could certainly use the money, this comes dangerously close to buying and selling organs, something that is both patently illegal and, if done consistently, would create tiers of healthcare where the highest bidder could simply get all transplants.   Knowing Lisa’ s parents personally, I am certain that if another family offered $4 million to the hospital, they would not want that money taken into consideration for their child.                   Lisa, though certainly a sad case, must be the least appropriate for a transplant for several reasons.   Firstly, she has already lived for a year since the incident that damaged her heart, meaning that she can afford to wait more than either of the other cases, especially Ozzy, who is unlikely to survive the month.   If the heart is given to her, then another becomes available in two months after Ozzy has died, resources would not have been best allocated. Furthermore, her chronic health conditions mean she is unlikely to survive very long even with a transplant, whereas the other two may live much longer.                   It is then between Ozzy and Jerry.   Ozzy has had a history of addiction, which originally damaged his heart, but has been clean for several months.   He is currently working with at-risk youth as a counselor-mentor and would continue doing so for at least one year if given the transplant.   He has a high risk of recidivism, however.   Jerry is a father of three, including an autistic child, and his wife has no career or skills.   Between the two of these, I believe the heart must go to Ozzy.   Firstly, his need is the most urgent: he will die within the month if not given the heart.   Secondly, he has a chance to be an immensely positive impact on a great number of people through his work at the local center which could save dozens of children for growing into someone like him.   Jerry, on the other hand, has already had a chance to impact his three children who are well on their way to adulthood, and his work as a middle-manager is unlikely to provide significant societal benefits in the way Ozzy’ s could.                     The choice to give Ozzy the heart is certainly the riskier one, but has been clean for months shows that he has what it takes to remain so.   Full knowledge that returning to drugs will kill him within months will also likely protect him from recidivism, and his work is simply too valuable not to take this chance for.  


Scarre, Geoffrey. Utilitarianism. London: Routledge, 1996.
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