A recent bioethics paper raises some age-old arguments around an issue that strikes at the heart of ethical organ donation: organ donation euthanasia or ODE.
Organ donation can be a generous and lifesaving gift. But like many things, this gift can be misused. Organ donation is a very delicate procedure balancing the need to keep the organs healthy to ensure a successful donation, the dignity of the person donating, and the need to ensure the individual donating is, in fact, truly deceased.
The Dead Donor Rule (DDR) is cornerstone to the public trust and ethics of organ donation. But for some, including Dr. Didde B. Anderson, limiting the donation pool only to those actively dying or dead violates a principle of personal autonomy and is “paternalistic.”
As summarized in Psychology Today (PT), Anderson argues that healthy people who wish to donate an essential organ – a heart, for example – to save the lives of others should be allowed to do so, at the cost of their own lives.
One of Anderson’s main arguments is that allowing someone to choose to commit suicide for organ donation would lead to better organ viability. Yet this is a calculating, utilitarian argument that has no place in a society that values both individual rights and human dignity.