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A phenomenological approach to the ethics of transplantation medicine: sociality and sharing when living-with and dying-with others
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Technology and Social Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2014 (English)In: Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, ISSN 1386-7415, E-ISSN 1573-1200, Vol. 35, no 5, 369-388 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recent years have seen a rise in the number of sociological, anthropological, and ethnological works on the gift metaphor in organ donation contexts, as well as in the number of philosophical and theological analyses of giving and generosity, which has been mirrored in the ethical debate on organ donation. In order to capture the breadth of this field, four frameworks for thinking about bodily exchanges in medicine have been distinguished: property rights, heroic gift-giving, sacrifice, and gift-giving as aporia. Unfortunately, they all run into difficulties in terms of both making sense of the relational dimensions of postmortem and live organ donations and being normatively adequate in the sense of shedding light and providing guidance on ethical concerns when body parts are donated. For this reason, this article presents a phenomenological framework of giving-through-sharing, based on Maurice Merleau-Pontys philosophy. This framework makes sense of relational dimensions of postmortem and live organ donation. It also sheds light on three highly debated concerns in organ donation ethics: indebtedness on the part of recipients, the fact that some live donors do not experience donation as a matter of choice, and the potentially painful experience of donors relatives, who need to make decisions about postmortem organ donation at a time of bereavement. It can indirectly support what may be called a normalization of bodily exchanges in medicine.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Verlag (Germany) , 2014. Vol. 35, no 5, 369-388 p.
Keyword [en]
Organ donation; Phenomenology; Sharing; Relationality; Embodiment; Ethics
National Category
Other Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-111601DOI: 10.1007/s11017-014-9307-3ISI: 000342442000004PubMedID: 25227276OAI: diva2:758556
Available from: 2014-10-27 Created: 2014-10-27 Last updated: 2014-11-26

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