Friday, 31 January 2014

4th Workshop: Consent

The fourth and final meeting as part of the current RSE workshops project will take place on Wednesday 5th February. The theme will be consent (or authorisation, as it is in Scots law) and the schedule is as follows: Paper 1. Ben Saunders (Stirling) ‘Should Willingness to Receive be Understood as Consent to Give?’ Paper 2. Barbara Neades (Napier) ‘Consent/Authorisation in Scottish Legislation’ Paper 3. Hugh McLachlan (Glasgow Caledonian) ‘Posthumous Organ Retrieval, Consent and Justification’ Paper 4. Henrietta Consolo (Glasgow) ‘Consent and Best Interests of the Patient in Controlled Donation after Circulatory Death’ Roundtable. What have we learned from the project as a whole? Future collaboration possibilities?

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Womb Transplants in Sweden

The BBC reports that nine women have received womb transplants in Sweden. I'm not clear from the story whether this is a first or not. It mentions that womb transplants have been attempted before but failed to produce babies; the implicature I take it is that the transplant itself was successful. But these nine women haven't yet had babies either, so it's not clear what advance - if any - this is over the previous attempts. Still, if they are able to carry a baby (conceived through IVF), this transplant could apparently aid 15,000 women in the UK. It's unclear where that many wombs would come from though - these were apparently donated by living relatives, I don't know whether wombs can be taken from deceased donors.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Behavioural Insights

The Cabinet Office Behavioural Insight Team recently published preliminary results of a randomised control test looking at the effect of different messages on donor registration: their report can be found here (1.2MB pdf). They found that a message stressing reciprocity had the greatest effect on increasing registrations. Interestingly, putting a picture of a group of people alongside an appeal resulted in fewer registrations that a message without a picture.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Branded Organs

Christmas is, of course, the season for gift-giving, but I've not seen a lot of coverage recently regarding organ donation as the gift of life. One story that has been in the news is that of a surgeon who carved his initials on a patient's liver. The BBC provides an ethical analysis here.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Heart Transplant Survival Record

A British heart transplant patient has entered the record books, surviving 31 years (and counting) since receiving a heart transplant in 1982. A clear demonstration of the potential benefits that a transplant can bring.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Moorlock on Queue-Jumping

An interesting (short and for-public) piece by Greg Moorlock here on the merits and problems of an Israeli-style priority for donors scheme here. It also connects back to our previous discussion of families, noting that the family veto will almost certainly have to be abolished if priority schemes are to work. Very relevant for what we've recently been discussing and highly recommended.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Benefits of Live Donation

A heart-warming story about an 'altruistic' (or live) kidney donor receiving a letter of thanks from the family she helped here. It's good to see donation get regular good press, rather than only being covered when there are scandals.

For the record, the scare quotes round 'altruistic' in the first sentence are not intended to question Ms Pretty's obvious altruism; rather, I find it odd that live donors who donate to strangers (rather than relatives) are referred to as 'altruistic donors', given the commonplace belief that all donations should be altruistic - a reasoning which is often appealed to in order to resist incentives for donors.

If you're interested in this issue, there's a nice piece by Greg Moorlock discussing the altruism requirement in the Journal of Medical Ethics (open access). The next meeting of the RSE project, on Saturday 14th September, will focus on incentives and inducements, so look out for further posts on that theme.