Family Consent in Organ Donation: Confucian Ethics and Its Contemporary Application
Keywords:器官捐獻, 儒家, 家庭主義, 知情同意, 家庭同意原則
LANGUAGE NOTE | Document text in Chinese; abstract also in English.
Organ donation is the gift of an organ to help someone else who needs a transplant. Hundreds of people’s lives are saved each year by organ transplants. Yet the question remains: Who should give the priority in terms of donation procedures - the individual who feels a strong, personal commitment to offer his/her organ or the legal next-of-kin, i.e., the priority order of the family members? This has been greatly debated bioethical issue in China in recent years. Rather than emphasizing the right of individuals to decide what will happen after they die, or removing the burden of making a decision about organ donation from families dealing with the traumatic death of a loved one, the policy of family consent indicates the signif icant role of family in making the decision. That is to say, the consent, or lack of objection, of those closest to the patient is always sought before organs can be donated. The family involvement could avoid discomfort with the process on the one hand, but also cause conf licts when there is a disagreement between the donor and family members on the other.
This paper focuses its discussion on the context and impacts of the“ Rules regarding Organ Transplant” implemented in China since 2007. Then, it turns to traditional Confucian ethics to talk about the meaning of life and Confucian concept of family to show that Confucianism would support the idea of organ transplant. To prove the claim, the paper offers two recent examples of organ donation. Organ transplant should be advocated but the rules should be tighten in order to prevent unqualified doctors and profithungry hospitals from abusing patients and organ donors.
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Copyright (c) 2008 International Journal of Chinese & Comparative Philosophy of Medicine
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