Dead body organs should be donated for scientific research. Although some people complain that the display of brain dead and related body parts somehow insults the dignity or sanctity of the body. It is difficult to explain the difference between such displays of brain dead bodies and their use for transplantation and research. Once scientific researchers have figured out how to maintain dead bodies, they can in turn use them in all sorts of additional economically productive ways. For last few decades people have welcomed the prospect of the use of their dead bodies in medical schools. The fact that death remains a constant of human life, the pursuit of knowledge of self involves acceptance that understanding death is not static but evolves with the development of biomedical science and, therefore, dead body organs should be donated for scientific research.
Puchalski (2006) says that removal of organs for the sole purpose of helping someone else to improve quality or extend lifespan should be considered not as a mutilation, but as an extension of a helping hand. He continues to say that the necessity to donate organs for scientific research to improve the quality of living is growing. Childress & Liverman (2006) indicated that those who are anxious about the dead bodies commoditization claim that the organs donation would cross an important moral line and could weaken the community moral fabric. There is a recognition de jure of the living persons rights in making serious decisions connected with the donation of organs after the death which is well oriented with the recognition of the compulsory force of headway commands in healthcare.
Scholars argue that organ donation from dead bodies for scientific research should be seen as an inalienable part of care for the terminally ill people. Childress & Liverman (2006) says that “as a result, the moral reach of the living person’s prerogative to govern the disposition of his or her body after death extend not only to the possibility of making a donation decision but also the possibility of designating a surrogate decision maker” (p. 87). Faircloth (2003) also says that the dead body is described as lacking in symbolic value because death represents the unambiguous enduing of the self experienced in the secular Western notion of personhood. He further says that as long as the person is represented as a center of consciousness, sensitivity and volition, people claim that when someone dies, he does not feel it anymore.
Dead body organs should be donated for scientific research, because the dead body is defined as dehumanized flesh that will start its own natural process of decomposition. Faircloth (2003) says that in the prospect of this inevitable fate for the body, organ donation should not be seen as a biomedical practice that generates emotional troubles. Removal of organs and tissues for the research is accepted as a normal part of the autopsy. Schicktanz (2009) indicated that different legal and ethical solutions to this problem have been proposed throughout the world. Before dead body organs are donated for medical research, explicit informed consent by the deceased person before death is required.
There is a need to foster a combination of individual consent and proxy consent, the latter being a substitute for the former. Schicktanz (2009) says that this means that family members can ensure the deceased person’s will is observed. In every aspect of choice about whether or not to donate dead body organ, individuals should have a freedom of choice. According to Schicktanz (2009), the donations should be done because the human body is the physical object of medical interventions. In this context, in modern medical practice the human body is mainly seen as a material object, as the locus where the diseases reside and the intervention takes place. Therefore, dead body organs should be donated to enhance the medical research and facilitate future interventions.
Schicktanz (2009) says that the dead human body has no social or cultural meaning. The essence of the human being and its personality are located exclusively in the disembodied spirit. Some bioethicists from various cultural or philosophical backgrounds hold a different perspective. Schicktanz (2009) says that for them body is the medium of personality and identity. Since organ donation from dead bodies was relatively new concept and not understood very well, people tried to make sense of it by comparing it to more familiar concepts and phenomena. It should therefore be anchored in acts such as giving a gift or giving charity.
Organ donation from dead bodies should be considered as a gift. Miller (2012) says that this is because very few people look upon organs as possessions. When someone is alive, it is his right to do what he wants with his organs once he is dead. Miller (2012) says that people should accept donation of organs from their dead bodies as giving gifts to the medical and scientific researchers. Miller (2012) continues to say that “just like persons may give away their money and possessions to somebody, so could one bequeath organs after death for research”.
Giving dead body organs should be compared to giving charity. Miller (2012) says that giving charity has different connotations. Donating such organs for the purposes of scientific research is less personal in the sense that people who donate organs after their death do not necessarily know the people who will receive their organs. Miller (2012) agrees that the representation of organ donation from dead body as giving charity should be the most popular because the notion of charity and helping researchers will contribute to life saving interventions and knowledge acquisition.
In addition, Miller (2012) indicated that some people believe that organ donation should be seen as an act of duty towards God rather than act of altruism. He continues to say that while being an act worthy of praise, it should only be seen as doing what is expected of a person who calls himself or herself a Christian. Miller (2012) says that not accepting to donate organs from dead bodies means that the person is not doing God’s will. In addition he says that donating ones organs after death is a way of thanking God for giving them a healthy life. The idea of donating organs after death should be considered as a heroic act. Miller (2012) says that people should look at it from the point of view of the donor family who, in the midst of their sadness because of losing somebody, they love, most often in a tragic way they receive an organ transplant.
The dead are normally not competent to make their own decisions. Wilkinson (2012) says that it is other living people who have to decide for them, including whether to take their organs or not. This is because organ removal is more different from other cases of decision making for the incompetent. Wilkinson (2012) articulates that people who are dead no longer need their organs as organs. Taking organs from those who consented does not infringe their rights. Wilkinson (2012) says that “in cases without consent or dissent, it seems reasonable to say that taking the organs from someone who is known to want to donate does not infringe his/her right”. This is because the right does not directly require consent and as person’s interests are determined by his/her wishes, it is in his/her interest to donate.
According to Miller (2012), donating organs from dead bodies for the scientific research is important. This is because donation should be looked upon as an insurance policy. Scholars say that people who pledge to donate their organs after their death should be given preference, if they needed an organ transplant at some stage in their lives. Organ donation from dead bodies should, therefore. be considered as an investment which someone makes to help the society. This implies that if one accepts that dead people’s interests for or against their organs being taken are determined by their wishes, they do not have an interest for or against (Wilkinson, 2012).
Shibles & Maier (2010) indicated that as we treat emergency patients with presumed consent, dead body organs should be donated to help in research of major ailments that affect human body. Shibles & Maier (2010) noted that if people are irresponsible in not making provisions for donating their organs after death, and do not support presumed donation, they therefore cause their own shortage of organs.
With the current demand for medical research on vital body organs there is a need to avail more dead body organs to facilitate these studies. Death is usually regarded as a temporal instance that determines the self body or the soul body detachment. In such explanations the body loses its usefulness and symbolic meaning for both donor and for his or her relatives. These considerations are built on transcendental beliefs according to religious ideas or secularized ones. In this case keeping the integrity of the corpse is not important because human body is subjected to biological decomposition, hence dead body organs should be donated for the scientific research.