Tag: organ transplantation

Bioethics Blogs

ORGAN DONATION AFTER MEDICAL AID IN DYING

Jennifer A. Chandler describes some of the ethical and legal challenges surrounding organ donation following medical assistance in dying.

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Today, it is medically possible to donate organs following death brought about by medical assistance in dying. This currently happens in countries like Belgium and the Netherlands. People with neurodegenerative conditions like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, or multiple sclerosis (MS) are eligible to donate organs. Those with cancer, however, are not eligible because of risks to recipients.

In Canada, people with neurodegenerative conditions who satisfy the legal eligibility criteria for assisted dying may also meet the medical eligibility criteria for organ donation. However, this possibility raises novel ethical, legal, and policy issues that must be carefully considered. The following four hypothetical cases illustrate some of these issues.

CASE 1 – A patient seeks assisted dying and wants to donate to a family member.

Some provinces allow people to direct their organ donations to relatives after they die. Some patients who choose assisted dying may derive some comfort from being able to help a family member in this way. There is the risk, however, that patients may feel pressured to seek assisted dying, in part, to benefit a sick relative.

CASE 2 – A family member is asked to consent to cornea donation for a loved one who passed away through assisted dying. The patient was not asked about this before his death because he was not registered as an organ donor, and nobody wanted to burden him with the decision. 

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

Thomas Starzl, Trailblazer in Organ Transplantation, Dies at 90

March 7, 2017

(NPR) – Thomas Starzl, the doctor who pioneered liver transplant surgery, has died at the age of 90. In an announcement on its website, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center said Starzl died peacefully at his home on Saturday. “His work in neuroscience, metabolism, transplantation and immunology has brought life and hope to countless patients, and his teaching in these areas has spread that capacity for good to countless practitioners and researchers everywhere,” his family wrote in a statement issued Sunday by UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

The Formation of the Global Bioethics Initiative Featured in IMPAKTER

In this series of global leaders, we will highlight an international non-profit healthcare organization that provides a bridge between patient care and the complexities of medicine. This area of healthcare is often referred to as Bioethics and in 2011, Dr. Ana Lita and Dr. Charles Debrovner co-founded Global Bioethics Initiative (GBI). This organization offers an all-inclusive resource that allow young and established healthcare professionals a place to learn about essential information about the ethical dilemmas in medicine. GBI is unique in their approach in that they make Bioethics approachable and tangible to everyone. This first installment of this series will layout the reasons behind making bioethics global, the reasons for forming GBI, and their educational programs.

WHY GLOBAL BIOETHICS?

People are beginning to appreciate more deeply the bonds between human well-being and the unrelenting pace of medical and technological advances. The progress made in life sciences, medicine and biotechnology in recent years has provided us with exciting and novel ways of treating, preventing, and curing human diseases. Some (relatively) recent notable and controversial developments in medical science and biotechnology include: markets in organs and transplantation therapy, the accessibility of biotechnological developments in reproductive healthcare, genetic testing and gene therapy, the End-of-Life, the “right to die” and palliative care, as well as life extension, healthy aging and regenerative medicine. While the positive impact of these advances on individuals and societies must be applauded, the ethical consequences of such developments necessitate our attention. The increasing power that new biotechnologies offer us requires that we consider not only whether something can be done, but whether it should it be done.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

Human-Pig Chimeras: The Potential and Concerns Of Hybrid Human-Animal Organs

One of the great advances in modern medicine has been the success of organ transplantation. Whilst complications still arise from its use, the refinement of drugs designed to reduce organ rejection alongside other improvements, mean that the procedure is often lifesaving.

As is frequently the case however, there is a caveat to this “wonder-cure”, namely, that far more people require organs than there are organs available. This global shortage has given rise to a host of complex ethical challenges. Several of these issues have already been explored here, including the implementation of ‘opt-in’ organ donation systems and the appropriateness of receiving organs on the basis of ability to pay1, 2, 3.

The development of chimeric human-pig embryos announced in the journal Cell last week may therefore be hailed as the much-needed answer to this problem of organ shortages. With over 120,000 people on the national transplant list in the US alone and 22 people on that list dying each day, any opportunity to increase the numbers of transplantable organs has an obvious appeal4. However, this development is far from a perfect solution.

Chimeric embryos are early life forms that are composed from 2 or more different sets of genetic material. In this case therefore, one set of genetic material is from a pig and the second from a human. These chimeras were initially made in the laboratory, before being transplanted into surrogate sows. In the study, only a fraction of the total embryos transplanted (just over 10%) showed successful development, surviving for 3-4 weeks5.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Ethics of Coordinating Organ Transplantation with Ventilator Cessation in Terminal ALS

The decision not to receive further medical care in the face of a terminal disease is one that is generally honored if made by a fully informed, competent adult in the absence of outside coercion. Decisions to discontinue life-assisting devices already in place with that terminal disease, such as ventilators, feeding tubes and cardiac pacemakers, begin to complicate the decision as the process moves beyond… // Read More »

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

GBI excited to ​announce new President, Dr. Bruce Gelb

Global Bioethics Initiative is pleased to announce the election of Dr. Bruce Gelb, M.D., F.A.C.S, as President of the Board of Directors. Dr. Gelb is an Assistant Professor of Surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center, School of Medicine, and the Surgical Director of Renal Transplantation of the NYU Langone Transplant Institute. He also performs liver transplant surgery and is a key member of the Face Transplant team. He has a vested interest in the field of bioethics, especially the ethics of transplantation.

“As a transplant surgeon, bioethics encompasses virtually every aspect of my work. I had the honor of joining GBI’s Board of Directors three years ago and served as the Interim President of the organization since July 2016. It has been an honor to serve as a lecturer in both Manhattan and Dubrovnik schools and symposiums on the ethics of organ transplantation alongside with world experts in various other fields. I am strong supporter of the mission and educational programs of this young organization.”

Since March 2016, he serves as the Chair of the Quality Improvement Committee at the NYU Langone Medical Center and holds an appointment as a Representative of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) Ethics Committee for a three-year term. Dr. Gelb has received the multiple clinical awards, including: Castle Connolly Top Doctor, New York 2016, NY Top Docs 2015, Super Doctors “Rising Star” 2013 and 2014, and Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honors Society. He holds board certification in General Surgery and is certified in Liver, Kidney, and Pancreas transplantation, and Living Donor Surgery.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

Residency Opportunity: Brocher Foundation

Residency Opportunity: Brocher Foundation

November 29, 2016

The Brocher Foundation is located on the shores of the Geneva Lake, in Hermance (Geneva – Switzerland). The Brocher Foundation residencies last between one and four months. They give researchers the opportunity to work at the Brocher Centre on projects on the ethical, legal and social implications for humankind of recent medical research and new technologies. Every month a dozen of visiting researchers live and concentrate on their research project at the Foundation.

WHY APPLY?

  • Write a book, articles, an essay, a monograph or your PhD thesis in a peaceful environment
  • Have the opportunity to meet other researchers from different disciplines and countries
  • Have the opportunity to meet experts from numerous International Organizations & Non- Governmental Organizations based in Geneva (WHO, WTO, WIPO, UNHCR, ILO, WMA, ICRC, … )

The Brocher Foundation offers to successful applicants an accommodation in the domain of the Brocher Foundation and work space with all facilities.
Developing a research project involving cooperation with a Swiss university, a European university, a governmental or non- governmental will be considered as an asset.

A researcher can apply with other researchers to work on a collaborative project.

Topics of the Year 2018:

Among the following disciplines: Bioethics, Medical Anthropology, Health Economics, Health Policy, Health Law, Philosophy of Medicine and Health, Medical Humanities, Social Science Perspectives on Health, Medical Ethics, History of medicine.

Proposals of the following topics are notably welcomed: Equitable access to medical care, Biobanks, Biosecurity and Dual Use Dilemmas, Clinical Trials and Research on Human Subjects, Genetic testing and screening, Health Care Reform, Nanotechnology, Neglected diseases, Pandemic planning, Reproductive technology, Stem Cells and Cell Therapy, Organ transplantation, Cyber Health, Neurosciences, Synthetic Biology.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

Yet Another Sucessful Face Transplant Has Been Made

Face transplants are slowly becoming an everyday surgery in the world. Just this past August, Dr. Eduardo Rodríguez performed one. In a 26-hour operation, the most extensive face transplant operation to date, the plastic surgeon and his team removed the face and scalp of a young victim of a fatal accident and successfully grafted the tissue onto the head of Patrick Hardison, a firefighter who had been horribly burned in a fire. The operation took place at NYU Langone Medical Center.

Organ transplantation has been around for a couple of decades. Since its inception in 1954, when surgeons at Boston’s Brigham Hospital transplanted a kidney, clinicians have been in a race to make transplants about pretty much everything: hands, uteruses, penises, livers, arms, and now faces. Dr. Rodriguez wishes face transplantations to be accessible for the needy. Nonetheless, issues of costs –this last operation cost $1 million– and also encouraging donations to come into play.

Read the article here.

Other Posts


Yet Another Sucessful Face Transplant Has Been Made





2016-11-05T18:56:50+00:00

  • Kris Chung has become part of Binh and Phuoc Wagner’s lives after he donated part of his liver to Binh. Phuoc got her adopted dad’s liver.

Organs for the rich and cute: Should patients campaign for their own donors?





2016-10-28T20:53:21+00:00


The Resurrection Project, New Scientist Cover Story





2016-10-15T19:16:49+00:00


Participant Testimonials Manhattan Summer School Program, July 11 – 22, 2016





2016-10-22T15:40:36+00:00

The post Yet Another Sucessful Face Transplant Has Been Made appeared first on Global Bioethics Initiative (GBI).

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

The Most Extensive Face Transplant Performed by Surgeons at NYU Langone Medical Center

Face transplants are slowly becoming an everyday surgery in the world. Just this past August, Dr. Eduardo Rodríguez performed one. In a 26-hour operation, the most extensive face transplant operation to date, the plastic surgeon and his team removed the face and scalp of a young victim of a fatal accident and successfully grafted the tissue onto the head of Patrick Hardison, a firefighter who had been horribly burned in a fire. The operation took place at NYU Langone Medical Center.

Organ transplantation has been around for a couple of decades. Since its inception in 1954, when surgeons at Boston’s Brigham Hospital transplanted a kidney, clinicians have been in a race to make transplants about pretty much everything: hands, uteruses, penises, livers, arms, and now faces. Dr. Rodriguez wishes face transplantations to be accessible for the needy. Nonetheless, issues of costs –this last operation cost $1 million– and also encouraging donations to come into play.

Read the article here.

Other Posts


The Most Extensive Face Transplant Performed by Surgeons at NYU Langone Medical Center





2016-11-06T14:40:16+00:00

  • Kris Chung has become part of Binh and Phuoc Wagner’s lives after he donated part of his liver to Binh. Phuoc got her adopted dad’s liver.

Organs for the rich and cute: Should patients campaign for their own donors?





2016-10-28T20:53:21+00:00


The Resurrection Project, New Scientist Cover Story





2016-10-15T19:16:49+00:00


Participant Testimonials Manhattan Summer School Program, July 11 – 22, 2016





2016-10-22T15:40:36+00:00

The post The Most Extensive Face Transplant Performed by Surgeons at NYU Langone Medical Center appeared first on Global Bioethics Initiative (GBI).

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

Mitochondrial surprises

According to the endosymbiotic hypothesis, around 1500 million years ago, the mitochrondrion was a bacterium or prokaryotic cell phagocytosed by another to which it provided energy in the form of ATP; the host cell gave it a stable, nutrient medium. Over time, instead of integrating itself in the nucleus, this invader became specialised as an energy centre and reduced its DNA to the current 37 genes. “Why do we still have mitochondrial DNA?” asked Ben Williams of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in February this year in Cell Systems. “It’s like saying you have a central library with all your books in it, but we’re going to keep 10 of them off-site in a leaky shed”, protected from fire, flood or theft.

Despite this age-old coexistence in all multicellular organisms, the mitochondrion continues to hide mysteries. It is responsible for more than 150 diseases, many of which affect the musculoskeletal and central nervous system, and have no cure. Last year, Great Britain approved so-called mitochondrial replacement — which has still not been given the green light for use in medicine — from which three-parent embryos would result: paternal spermatozoa and maternal nuclear DNA without defective mitochondria, which is transferred to an enucleated donor egg with healthy mitochondria. There has been great bioethical and scientific discussion in recent months about a technique on which few tests have been carried out and which would alter the germ line.

This is something that, in addition, appears simple on paper but is not so straightforward in the laboratory.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.