The Challenge of Living Organ Donors to Social and Health Policy

Award Year:
David Rothman, Sheila Rothman
Ethical Dilemmas and Resource Allocation, Organ Donation and Transplantation
A decade ago, most transplants were performed using organs from people immediately after death. Now, especially in the field of kidney transplantation, nearly half of the organs used for transplants in the U.S. come from living donors. Sheila M. Rothman, Ph.D. and David J. Rothman, Ph.D. address the meaning and policy implications of this new reliance on living organ donors for patients, families, physicians, and the general public. In their project, The Challenge of Living Organ Donors to Social and Health Policy, the Rothmans explore dilemmas inherent in the concept of organ donation as a "gift," controversies over compensating donors, conflicts of interest that arise when transplant teams treat both recipients and their donors, informed consent issues, and the potential for coerced decisions. They also examine the governance of medical technologies, particularly the limits to professional self-regulation and the role of federal and state regulators in ensuring that transplant policies serve the public interest.