An empirically informed ethical analysis of directed and conditional deceased organ donation

An empirically informed ethical analysis of directed and conditional deceased organ donation.

Arts and Humanities Research Council Collaborative Doctoral Studentship 2009 – 2012

Grant holder: Professor Heather Draper

Demand for organs available for transplant has traditionally outstripped supply, and continues to do so. Directed and conditional donation occurs when an organ donor or his/her family requests that donated organs are given to a particular person or type of person, or withheld from a particular person or type of person. Conditional and directed deceased donations are not generally permitted within the UK, and this could be responsible for some people choosing to not donate organs.
This project aims to define the boundaries between acceptable and unacceptable conditional and directed donation by integrating qualitative data with a philosophical analysis of the ethical issues surrounding donations of these types. Potential donors, potential organ recipients and transplant staff will be interviewed to gather qualitative data which will be analysed to establish the ethical thinking that underpins the beliefs of those involved in the transplantation process. The themes that this qualitative analysis reveals will be integrated with a conventional ethical analysis to produce an empirically informed ethical analysis which takes into account the views and beliefs of those involved in the transplantation process.

The project is being undertaken as a PhD by Greg Moorlock, under supervision by Professor Heather Draper (Medicine, Ethics, Society and History), Mr Simon Bramhall (Consultant HPB and Liver Transplant Surgeon, University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust), and Dr Jonathan Ives (Medicine, Ethics, Society and History).

Each year the AHRC provides funding from the Government to support research and postgraduate study in the arts and humanities. Only applications of the highest quality are funded and the range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK.
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