n Stellenbosch Law Review = Stellenbosch Regstydskrif - One heart, two patients : who gets a donor organ?

Volume 20, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1016-4359
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2193



When organs were first transplanted, the ethical correctness of transplanting a body-part from one person into another was questioned. Today no one questions the therapeutic value of transplantations, but the ethical issues surrounding organ transplantations have not disappeared and one of the main questions today is who of a number of terminally ill patients gets a donor organ. This question is extremely important given the constant world-wide shortage of transplantable human organs. Because there is an important connection between policies of organ procurement and policies of organ allocation, it is necessary to analyse why the distribution of donated organs is a problem. General considerations for allocating donor organs are discussed. Legislation in the United States of America and the United Kingdom is scrutinized to determine how decisions concerning donated organs are made there. A comparison of the position in those countries with the current position in South Africa reveals serious legislative short comings here. Finally, a possible solution is proposed. If there were more donors, the competition to get an organ for transplantation will diminish. By using unrelated living donors, especially for kidney donations, the problem might be solved.

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