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Shifting ethics: debating the incentive question in organ transplantation
  1. Donald Joralemon
  1. Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, USA


    The paper reviews the discussion within transplantation medicine about the organ supply and demand problem. The focus is on the evolution of attitudes toward compensation plans from the early 1980s to the present. A vehement rejection on ethical grounds of anything but uncompensated donation—once the professional norm—has slowly been replaced by an open debate of plans that offer financial rewards to persons willing to have their organs, or the organs of deceased kin, taken for transplantation. The paper asks how this shift has occurred and what it tells us about the dynamics of bioethical debates, both within professional circles and in wider public arenas.

    • Organ transplantation
    • financial incentives
    • donation

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    • Donald Joralemon, PhD, is Professor of Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, USA.