Human Exceptionalism

UK Moving Toward “Presumed Consent” to Organ “Donation?”

So much for “donating” organs. Britain’s most senior doctor will recommend that when a person dies, that his organs be taken–unless he or she previously opted out–barring concerted objections from family.

Known as “soft presumed consent,” such a plan could be disastrous and destroy the confidence people have in medicine–particularly in the UK in which the NHS is imploding and health care rationing is already encroaching on Hippocratic medical values. Here’s why: If every patient were deemed by law a probably organ donor, the temptation–particularly given the increased influence of utilitarian bioethics–would be to view the sickest patients as so many organ systems whose primary worth would be to help other people. The fear among the people would be that the critically ill–particularly otherwise “healthy” people with significant cognitive impairments–would be treated (or non treated) in a way to benefit potential organ recipients rather than the patient him/herself. Paranoia would strike a beat/Into your life it would seep…