Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Who gets the liver transplant? The use of responsibility as the tie breaker
  1. V Thornton
  1. Correspondence to Ms V Thornton, Directorate of Nursing, University of Liverpool, 1st Floor, Whelan Building, The Quadrangle, Brownlow Hill, Liverpool L69 3GB, UK; v.thornton{at}


Is it possible to invoke the use of moral responsibility as part of the selection criteria in the allocation of livers for transplant? Criticism has been applied to the difficulties inherent in including such a criterion and also the effect that employing such a judgement might have upon the relationship between the physician and patient. However, these criticisms rely on speculation and conjecture and do not relate to all the arguments put forward in favour of applying moral responsibility. None of the present arguments against using moral responsibility in the allocation of livers for transplant are good enough to warrant its dismissal.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and Peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • i Evidence (p 363)6 suggests that having this gene can result in dependency from daily alcohol consumption as low as six UK standard units or drinks, which is relatively small for most individuals dependent on alcohol.