Story by Taylor Hodges, Reporter
On Monday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Wege Ballroom, Professor Pilkington of the Philosophy department was joined by Dr. Mark Cherry via Skype for a discussion on the ethics of transitioning towards a market for selling your organs.
Dr. Cherry is the Dr. Patricia A. Hayes professor in applied ethics and professor of philosophy at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. In addition, he is the Editor of “The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy,” Associate Editor of Christian Bioethics, Editor-in-Chief of HealthCare Ethics Committee Forum, and author of “Kidney for Sale by Owner” in which he discusses the benefits of turning organ donation into a market.
According to his book, there are over 6,000 people who die each year waiting for an organ transplant due to the waiting list being too high to give everyone what they need in a timely fashion. Over the course of a year 19,000 to 20,000 transplants occur, which is well below the nearly 125,000 people waiting for an organ transplant, of which some need right away.
Dr. Cherry believes that by abstaining from the way transplants are done now and turning it into a market, it would save thousands of lives. People who desperately needed transplants would be able to get them without being kicked off the list because they’re too sick.
Many believe there are moral issues to be discussed if this was to be considered a plausible route. For example, if people were in situations where they desperately needed money wouldn’t the medical community be exploiting them for their organs? Many believe a system like this would exploit the poor and their financial needs, but the same can be said for the rich. In the discussion, Dr. Cherry gave an example of a wealthy girl who needed a kidney transplant and had a friend who was her perfect match. Theoretically, this friend could take advantage of the situation and pressure the girl, or her father, for an absurd amount of money knowing that without this kidney the girl would die. Another moral issue includes the federal government setting regulations on how much human organs are worth and thus being in control of our own bodies. These were just a few of the moral issues discussed during the hour long forum.
Overall, this was a very interesting topic and Dr. Cherry had responses for each question that was presented to him by students and medical professionals, but in a capitalist society like we have today, is there a problem with turning our body parts into products on the market? That’s for you to decide.
About the Writer…
Taylor Hodges is a senior majoring in Sport Management/ Business Administration. He interns with the public relations department for the Grand Rapids Griffins. He hopes to one day break into the hockey business as a General Manager, but until then, encourages you to follow him on Twitter and download his mixtape.