The Heart Transplantation and Ethical Issues – Transplantation&Donation Example

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"The Heart Transplantation and Ethical Issues" is a brilliant example of a paper on transplantation and donation.   Decision Regarding which of the Three Patients Should Receive the Available Heart To: For Official Record From: Lead Surgeon Subject: Decision Regarding which of the Three Patients Should Receive the Available Summary                       Right now there are three patients waiting for a suitable heart to be transplanted. One happens to be a 55-year-old male who is a mid-level manager and a family man. The other is a 12-year-old female with lifelong health issues. The third patient is q 38-year-old homeless male who is also a drug abuser.

There is right now only one heart available for transplant. A decision is to be made as to which of the three patients should be assigned the available heart. Issues                       Realistically speaking, the outcome of the decision being made will depend on the eventual outcome of selecting one patient for heart transplantation over others (Scarre, 1996, p. 2). The decision ought to be taken by looking beyond the scope of the institution’ s interests while considering the interests of the patients. The choice of patient is being made by considering the realities associated with each specific patient and allocating the heart to that patient in consonance with the Greatest Happiness Principle, resulting in maximum happiness to the maximum number of people (Rosen, 2003, p.

32). Evaluation of Options                       The available heart certainly could not be assigned to Ozzy, the 38-year-old homeless drug abuser. Though Ozzy has a chance of living the other 10 years if he receives a heart transplant, the fact is that saving his life will bring happiness to none but him (Rosen, 2003).

Besides, Ozzy developed his heart condition owing to continual drug abuse. Hence, he was well aware of the health-associated consequences of his actions, still, he stayed on drugs. Besides, there is a high risk that Ozzy could damage his new heart in case of recidivism and may die within months. Transplant in such a scenario will be a waste. Ozzy is doing some social work with addicted youths, but considering his history of substance abuse, one could doubt its continuity.                       The situation of Lisa, the 12-year-old girl deserves serious consideration.

Lisa is a bright girl and happens to be the only child. Though saving her life will bring immense relief and happiness to her two parents, pragmatically speaking, the demise of Lisa will not leave anybody helpless, as she has no dependents. Besides, the transplant could not be expected to prolong Lisa’ s life considerably. So even if she survives, the happiness of her and her parents will be qualitatively short-lived. This premise is also corroborated by the fact that Lisa has lifelong health issues and immunity-related disorders, which could seriously jeopardize the chances of her survival after the transplant.

There is a temptation to select Lisa for transplant, considering her father’ s professional weight and the $ 2 million donations being offered by him to the hospital if the available heart is given to his daughter. However, choosing Lisa for these reasons will be prejudicial to the interests of the most worthy recipient. So the available heart cannot be assigned to Lisa.                         Jerry, the 55-year-old family man, and a mid-level manager seem to be the right recipient for multiple reasons.

Jerry is a husband and a father of three, one of which is mildly autistic and hence, dependant on Jerry. Jerry’ s other two children are studying and are academically bright and dependent on Jerry. Jerry’ s wife has limited education and no career; so she is also dependent on Jerry and is not in a position to sustain the family in case Jerry dies. Thus, saving Jerry’ s life will bring high-quality happiness and sustenance to a family of five people (Rosen, 2003). Jerry developed heart condition owing to sports-related steroid usage in his early 20s when the risks associated with steroid usage were not known.

So like Ozzy, Jerry is not personally responsible for his situation. As Jerry has a chance of surviving 10-15 years after transplant, he is the one amongst the three patients who could pragmatically benefit most from the transplant. This transplant will not only enhance Jerry’ s life but will also give him a chance to support his wife and three kids for quite a long time. Hence, the available heart should be given to Jerry. Recommendation                         The available heart should be given to Jerry because he has a high chance of survival and the transplant will assure immense happiness and financial support to his wife and three children.


Rosen, Frederick. (2003). Classical Utilitarianism from Hume to Mill. London: Routledge.

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

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