Tag: organ transplantation

Bioethics News

A New Edition of Science, Technology, & Society Is Now Available

November 1, 2016

Science, Technology and Society (Vol. 31, No. 1, 2016) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Science Fiction as Critique of Science: Organ Transplantation and the Body” by Brittany Anne Chozinski
  • “Do Cyborgs Desire Their Own Subjection? Thinking Anthropology With Cinematic Science Fiction” by Jessica Dickson

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

Triage and the Israel-Palestine Conflict: A Case of Medical Tourism

by Sarah Kiskadden-Bechtel

Medical tourism widens the sphere of available medical care beyond a single country’s borders. Patients who voluntarily leave their home country to seek treatment in other countries typically do so out of perceived medical necessity; these procedureswhich are often poorly covered by insurancerange from mandatory heart surgery, to kidney or other organ transplants. In conflict-laden countries like Israel, organ donation rates “are among the lowest in the developed world, about one-third the rate in Western Europe,”[1] giving rise to advertisements for transplants due to inherent shortage.[2] Although rabbis offer different opinions about whether organ transplantation should be permissible under Jewish law, Israeli citizens have been known to venture as far as South Africa to undergo illegal kidney transplants.[3] Clearly, there is palpable incentive for Israeli citizens to receive organ transplants; questions remain, however, regarding whether and how these organs are being obtained, and what should be done as a result.

There is some evidence that Israeli soldiers have harvested organs from captured Palestinians. In November of 2015, the Palestinian Representative to the UN Dr. Riyad Mansour wrote an open letter to the UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon claiming that, under Israeli occupation in East Jerusalem, Palestinians killed and seized by Israeli soldiers were being returned with “missing corneas and other organs.”[4] As a counterpoint, Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon dismissed these claims ascribing them to “anti-Semitic motives.”[5] If there is any truth to Mansour’s claims, there is little clarity about which organs were missing, or whether the individuals in question were peaceful citizens or more militant aggressors.

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

Megan Crowley-Matoka’s “Domesticating Organ Transplant: Familial Sacrifice and National Aspiration in Mexico” by Parsa Bastani

Domesticating Organ Transplant: Familial Sacrifice and National Aspiration in Mexico

Megan Crowley-Matoka

Duke University Press, 2016, 336 pages

 

In Domesticating Organ Transplant: Familial Sacrifice and National Aspiration in Mexico, Megan Crowley-Matoka carefully grapples with the symbols and everyday practices of organ transplantation in Guadalajara, Mexico. Her research focuses on transplantations that take place in two resource poor yet key public healthcare systems at the helm of transplant medicine in Mexico. Through detailed ethnographic engagement with clinicians, government officials, patients, and their families, Crowley-Matoka follows the discursive life of multiple icons that have come to shape organ transplantation in locally particular ways. These icons are various and woven throughout the text, including la familia mexicana, the suffering mother, el mestizo, and “the slippery state.” The theoretical framework of the icon allows her to analyze the powerful and contested representations by which transplantation is signified and materialized in Mexico.

In developing her analysis, Crowley-Matoka most consistently draws on the icon of la familia Mexicana or the cohesive and self-sacrificial Mexican family. She argues that organ transplantation is a domesticated endeavor. As such, the Mexican family holds iconic currency on multiple scales. For the biomedical establishment, the evocation of “la familia” functions as a cultural and moral technology that has enabled Mexico to excel in transplantation from living donors. In the national imaginary, organs are understood to move from mothers to their (male) family members (Chapter 1). For transplant professionals and patients, the ideal outcome of transplantation is yoked to the attainment of a (hetero) normative Mexican family (Chapter 4).

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

Megan Crowley-Matoka’s “Domesticating Organ Transplant: Family Sacrifice and National Aspiration in Mexico” by Parsa Bastani

Domesticating Organ Transplant: Family Sacrifice and National Aspiration in Mexico

Megan Crowley-Matoka

Duke University Press, 2016, 336 pages

 

In Domesticating Organ Transplant: Family Sacrifice and National Aspiration in Mexico, Megan Crowley-Matoka carefully grapples with the symbols and everyday practices of organ transplantation in Guadalajara, Mexico. Her research focuses on transplantations that take place in two resource poor yet key public healthcare systems at the helm of transplant medicine in Mexico. Through detailed ethnographic engagement with clinicians, government officials, patients, and their families, Crowley-Matoka follows the discursive life of multiple icons that have come to shape organ transplantation in locally particular ways. These icons are various and woven throughout the text, including la familia mexicana, the suffering mother, el mestizo, and “the slipper state.” The theoretical framework of the icon allows her to analyze the powerful and contested representations by which transplantation is signified and materialized in Mexico.

In developing her analysis, Crowley-Matoka most consistently draws on the icon of la familia Mexicana or the cohesive and self-sacrificial Mexican family. She argues that organ transplantation is a domesticated endeavor. As such, the Mexican family holds iconic currency on multiple scales. For the biomedical establishment, the evocation of “la familia” functions as a cultural and moral technology that has enabled Mexico to excel in transplantation from living donors. In the national imaginary, organs are understood to move from mothers to their (male) family members (Chapter 1). For transplant professionals and patients, the ideal outcome of transplantation is yoked to the attainment of a (hetero) normative Mexican family (Chapter 4).

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

Prominent Transplant Ethicist Supports Investigation into Organ Sourcing in China

September 22, 2016

(The Epoch Times) – Dr. Annika Tibell is one of the world’s most respected voices in the ethics of organ transplantation. Currently Chief Physician for the New Karolinska Hospital Project, commissioned this fall in the capital of Sweden, Dr. Tibell was the lead author for The Transplantation Society’s first policy statement on China in 2006, and was one of the founders of the Declaration of Istanbul Custodian Group, a major organization focused on transplantation ethics. In a recent interview, Tibell joined calls for a major international investigation into China’s organ transplant practices, where researchers believe that for over a decade prisoners of conscience have been the primary source of organs used to supply the massive and profitable industry.

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

Ethicists Make the Case for Bone Marrow Transplantation Markets

September 14, 2016

(Washington Post) – A cross-ideological group of ethicists recently signed a powerful public letter opposing the proposed federal regulation banning the sale of hematopoietic stem cells, used in bone marrow transplantation. These cells are used in the treatment of patients with serious blood or bone marrow cancer. Often, cell transplantation is needed to save the patient’s life. The new rule would reverse a 2011 court decision holding that offering payment to bone marrow donors is not forbidden by the National Organ Transplantation Act, if it is done by means of a new, relatively noninvasive procedure known as apheresis.

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

Poor and Uninsured in Texas

August 19, 2016

(The New Yorker) – I have been an internist at Ben Taub for the past six years. In that time, I have rarely seen patients who lack health insurance, like Oregón, make it to the transplant list. The hospital is part of Harris Health, a county-funded network that provides care for the indigent, but as with most safety nets it does not cover organ transplantation, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. This may be why, when I took over Oregón’s care, I fixated on the tube in his nose. Rather than prolonging his life with invasive equipment, shouldn’t my colleagues and I gear our treatment toward helping him die comfortably?

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

NIH close to new policy on chimera research

Mouse, mouse-rat chimera, rat-mouse chimera and rat     

The National Institutes of Health announced this week that it will probably lift a ban on funding for animal-human chimeras. Since September last year the NIH refused to fund experiments in which human stem cells were added to animal embryos. However, scientists believe that the resulting chimeras will be valuable for investigating human development, disease pathology, and ultimately organ transplantation.

The NIH has asked for public comment on the proposed changes to its guidelines.

The new rules would shorten the period at which human stem cells can be added to animal embryos. It would not be possible to add them during the period when the central nervous system is forming, to avoid creating a chimera with a human, or mostly human brain. Breeding animals which contain human tissue would be banned to prevent the remote possibility of a human embryo growing in an animal womb or the birth of a chimera which is more human than its parents.

Chimera research would also require an extra layer of scrutiny. “It would be an extra set of eyes to make sure we’re not triggering any animal-welfare issues,” says Carrie Wolinetz, NIH associate director for science policy.

After September 4 the NIH will draft its final policy and hopefully lift the funding moratorium by late January.

The NIH realizes that it is important not to alarm the public. “We are not near the island of Dr Moreau, but science moves fast,” NIH ethicist David Resnik said last November at a workshop.

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

A Transplant Conference Play Host to China, and Its Surgeons Accused of Killing

August 3, 2016

(The Epoch Times) – Instead, when The Transplantation Society (TTS) holds its biennial conference in Hong Kong this August, China will be the star. In sessions like “The New Era of Organ Transplantation in China” and “Transplantation Reform in China,” Chinese officials will have the opportunity to tell thousands of medical professionals at the industry’s foremost gathering that they have thoroughly reformed their system, basking in renewed global standing and legitimacy without having passed a single new law. And without a single doctor or official held account for what has been described a genocide.

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

Is It Ethical to Purchase Human Organs?

June 29, 2016

(The Guardian) – Organ transplantation saves lives. People with end-stage kidney disease who receive a transplant tend to live much longer than those who undergo dialysis. A kidney from a living donor will last from 12 to 20 years, on average, compared to eight to 12 years for a kidney from a deceased donor. But there is a shortage of organs. In the United States, the waitlist for kidneys alone is around 100,000. Those waiting for kidneys make up most of the 120,000 people awaiting organ donation. The need for kidneys has led some to ask: would purchasing organs be a solution?

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.