The Corner

Organ Harvesting the Unconscious

This isn’t happening here–yet.

But many in organ transplant medicine and bioethics want permission to kill the profoundly cognitively disabled for their organs, either by lethal injection and then harvesting, or by the process itself.

The latest example was published in the Journal of Medical Ethics. From the article by bioethicist Zoe Fritz:

Where it is inevitable that an incapacitous patient is going to die—and specifically when it has been agreed through the courts that a patient in a PVS is going to have CANH [tube-supplied sustenance] withdrawn, it could be in a patient’s best interests to have a drug that would stop their heart and to have vital organs donated to a family member, acting as a means to the end of saving another, much as the mother would be doing in running out on the road to save her son.

By extension, it could also be in the patients best interests to donate their organs to someone else, if that was consistent with their previously expressed wishes. (3) The current practice of withdrawing CANH from patients in PVS or minimally conscious state—with the inevitable consequence of death—is ethically inferior to actively ending life with a drug that would stop the heart.

The ‘act’ rather than the omission would allow families to be present at the death of their loved one and obviate the potential for the physiological signs seen with starvation and dehydration; it would negate the (although tiny) possibility that the individual suffers during withdrawal of CANH, rather than addressing this with sedation and analgesia as is currently the case.

And it would allow those who had previously expressed a desire to donate their organs to do so allowing their altruistic desires to be respected as part of a wider interpretation of best interests.

I can think of no faster way to destroy the people’s confidence in organ donation than to kill for organs.

Not only that, but if this were permitted, decisions about withdrawing care would quickly become intertwined with the issue of harvesting, transforming patients into so many organ farms.

As I wrote above, this isn’t fringe thinking but of a kind being proposed continually in the world’s major professional journals.

I also hasten to repeat that killing for organs as proposed in this article isn’t happening in organ transplant centers at this time–except in Belgium and Netherlands that have coupled lethal injection euthanasia of the disabled and mentally ill with organ harvesting.

Light is the best disinfectant. The best way to make sure that killing and harvesting never spreads generally to the USA and other countries is to expose these pernicious ideas every time they are proposed in prominent professional journals.

Most Popular

The Trail Leading Back to the Wuhan Labs

It is understandable that many would be wary of the notion that the origin of the coronavirus could be discovered by some documentary filmmaker who used to live in China. Matthew Tye, who creates YouTube videos, contends he has identified the source of the coronavirus — and a great deal of the information that ... Read More

The Trail Leading Back to the Wuhan Labs

It is understandable that many would be wary of the notion that the origin of the coronavirus could be discovered by some documentary filmmaker who used to live in China. Matthew Tye, who creates YouTube videos, contends he has identified the source of the coronavirus — and a great deal of the information that ... Read More
Film & TV

America’s Favorite Movie

For more than a decade, readers volunteering their ratings on the movie site IMDb have declared The Shawshank Redemption (1994) their favorite film of all time. (Number two is The Godfather). Unlike the unholy tablets that are the box office charts, which are strongly linked to marketing budgets and show a ... Read More
Film & TV

America’s Favorite Movie

For more than a decade, readers volunteering their ratings on the movie site IMDb have declared The Shawshank Redemption (1994) their favorite film of all time. (Number two is The Godfather). Unlike the unholy tablets that are the box office charts, which are strongly linked to marketing budgets and show a ... Read More
World

All Signs Point to China

Just one big story today: collecting and sorting through what we know about the coronavirus's origins, and what makes sense and what doesn’t in the theory that it originated from someone eating bats or pangolins from the Huanan Seafood Market. What We Know and What We Don’t Know about the Source of ... Read More
World

All Signs Point to China

Just one big story today: collecting and sorting through what we know about the coronavirus's origins, and what makes sense and what doesn’t in the theory that it originated from someone eating bats or pangolins from the Huanan Seafood Market. What We Know and What We Don’t Know about the Source of ... Read More
Media

The Media Owe Senator Tom Cotton an Apology

One of the biggest issues people have with the mainstream press these days is that some of its members are so insulated that they end up buying into and promoting false narratives without actually checking these narratives' veracity. That seems to be exactly what happened in mid February, when major outlets ... Read More
Media

The Media Owe Senator Tom Cotton an Apology

One of the biggest issues people have with the mainstream press these days is that some of its members are so insulated that they end up buying into and promoting false narratives without actually checking these narratives' veracity. That seems to be exactly what happened in mid February, when major outlets ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Welcome Back, Plastic Bags

Single-use plastic bags are a miracle of modern technology. Cheap, light, convenient, and ubiquitous, they provide an elegant solution to a problem. If you recycle them, as most people do, and put your rubbish in them, that creates a net reduction in carbon emissions compared with buying the heavier, thicker ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Welcome Back, Plastic Bags

Single-use plastic bags are a miracle of modern technology. Cheap, light, convenient, and ubiquitous, they provide an elegant solution to a problem. If you recycle them, as most people do, and put your rubbish in them, that creates a net reduction in carbon emissions compared with buying the heavier, thicker ... Read More

The Didactic Plague

There are two Christian concepts on my mind on this Palm Sunday. One is theodicy, the other is the sin of presumption. “Theodicy” means “the vindication of God,” referring to a seeming conundrum that has vexed Christian thinkers since the beginning: How can evil coexist with an all-good, all-loving, ... Read More

The Didactic Plague

There are two Christian concepts on my mind on this Palm Sunday. One is theodicy, the other is the sin of presumption. “Theodicy” means “the vindication of God,” referring to a seeming conundrum that has vexed Christian thinkers since the beginning: How can evil coexist with an all-good, all-loving, ... Read More