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Recent advances in medicine have resulted in several options and possibility for humans to eliminate suffering; however, there are ethical concerns associated with the advancement of these options and possibilities. Neomorts are one of such advancements in medicine with regard to the harvesting of human organs for transplanting purposes. Neomorts refer to human bodies that have succumbed to a brain death although other biological capabilities are still functional and sustained on a respirator through cardiac assistance (Pecorino). The advent of neomorts stemmed from the redefinition of death from the conventional cardiac irreversibility towards brain death. In the present medical field, the conventional criterion for defining death is not useful with the increasing practice of cardiac transplantation. Under the conventional definition of death, cardiac transplantations could be considered as killing the donor; however, this is not the case with the redefinition of the criteria for death, which increased the significance of neomorts in medicine (Pecorino). This paper explores the advantages and disadvantages of neomorts in organ harvesting and provides a personal opinion regarding the practice.
Advantages of Neomorts in Organ Harvesting
With the increasing demand for organ transplants, it is apparent that the use of neomorts in organ harvesting will help in addressing this shortage. Currently, about 112,000 people in the United States are in need of organ transplants. Voluntary organ donation has not been able to meet this demand, which makes the use of neomorts the only viable solution to the problem. Regardless of the criteria used in the definition of death, whether brain death or cardiac irreversibility, neomorts are a crucial step towards addressing the current organ shortage. Under both criteria for defining death, it is apparent that the individual human body is incapable of supporting its physiological processes, which implies that the only effective way to utilize newly dead bodies is organ harvesting. Therefore, neomorts can be used to increase the supply of transplantable organs (Turney). Provided the informed consent issues are addressed appropriately, the use of neomorts in organ harvesting will be devoid of any underlying ethical issues.
Another significant advantage of neomorts with respect to organ harvesting is that it facilitates the storage of major organs. Gaylin (25) advocates for neomorts on grounds of the substantia storage and benefits associated with neomorts. It is apparent that there are considerable challenges with regard to the storage of major organs. Neomorts present a potential solution to this problem. For instance, maintaining a population of neomorts together with their body parts through computerization and cataloguing for compatibility is a substantial improvement on the existing system. In addition, a considerable population of neomorts could help in ensuring that there is a steady blood supply, because neomorts could be drained periodically (Gaylin 30). Overall, neomorts can facilitate the banking of tissues and organs to be supplied to the future patients in need of organ transplants. They also can facilitate continual harvesting of tissues in the body, multiplying tissues, and manufacturing of antibodies, antitoxins, and hormones. Gaylin (25) argues that burying or cremating dead bodies is somewhat equivalent to wasting resources when there is technical feasibility to sustain major organs using assistive technologies.
Disadvantages of Using Neomorts in Organ Harvesting
There is a number of ethical concerns regarding the use of neomorts in organ harvesting. According to the criteria of “brain death”, it is apparent that a person is in the process of dying although not yet fully dead. There is the likelihood of medical errors during brain death diagnosis, which may result in the killing of a person when reversibility is still a possibility (Turney).
The second disadvantage of using neomorts in organ harvesting is that it is not consistent with the principles of dignity during death. Using neomorts for organ harvesting only puts the dying people in the service of the salvageable (Turney).
It is apparent that the current voluntary system for organ transplant is not sufficiently effective to meet the rising needs of organ transplants. Using rational reasoning, it is evident that neomorts in organ harvesting is the only plausible solution to the problem. From a personal point of view, there is a coherent reason to bury/cremate the dead when their remains can be used for societal good through increasing the supply of organs, which has been facilitated by advances in medical technology.
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