January 24, 2008 7:24 AM

Bioethical Issues on Kidney Transplants

A girl in my dorm is taking an English class on Bioethics presented me with the following case.
A scientist/doctor in Japan has transplanted 42 cases of kidneys into patients on dialysis. The issue with these kidneys was that they were previously diseased but had the diseased portion cut out before transplantation. In none of these cases did complications arise. Due to the situation in Japan, the scientist was unable to present his findings/paper in Japan. Yet, he will be bringing the paper to present in the USA this month (or perhaps he has already presented it this month).

She asked me about my thoughts:
Q: Is this more acceptable in the USA? The USA is probably more open about presenting abnormal, groundbreaking, cases. However, this does not mean that the situation would be more acceptable in the USA.
Q: Would you give your diseased kidney to someone? No. I don't want to deal with liability issues our legal system makes it easy to sue. Even with liability waivers, it is still possible to sue.

Q: Would you receive a diseased kidney? No. If I really needed a kidney and I could not get it one from a live person or a deceased person, I would go overseas to a country where I would be able to procure one.
Q: Do you think that this would become allowed in Japan someday. Yes. Being Japan where they do not sue as much and the percentages of donors are minuscule, this would be another way of solving the lack of kidney issue. Yet, I doubt this would be done in the USA ever due to liability issues.

Other considerations I had were...
There's a national health care system in Japan. That means that government (through fundings) to some point dictates to patients what they can or cannot receive and at what cost. I feel like the reliance on the national health care system means that they will not look overseas to solve their problems. The lack of this in the USA means that it'd actually be cheaper for me to get a kidney transplant in (certain) foreign countries than in the USA. (Safety issues put aside.) Medical vacations have been increasing and have become more acceptable to the American public.

That said, this is all my opinion, un-researched, based on only what I remember and have been told. Please take it with a big spoonful of salt, and research on your own. Now, back to studying for my test tomorrow.

K. Lee | Permalink | Comment on this article | Comments (0)

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