Laypeople's Ethical Concerns About a New Israeli Organ Transplantation Prioritization Policy Aimed to Encourage Organ Donor Registration Among the Public
Journal of health politics, policy and law 2011 Aug; 36(4): 691-716
A new policy recently enacted in Israel promises preferred status in receiving organs for transplantation to individuals who register to be organ donors and to their close family members. Proponents believe it will increase the supply of organs for transplantation from the deceased. Ethical issues were raised in government committees appointed to discuss the policy before its approval, but discussions among laypeople were not solicited. This study aimed to elicit laypeople's views about the policy by conducting thirteen group interviews and thirty-six individual interviews. Participants included religious and nonreligious people, immigrants, and Arabs. Some participants thought the law would contribute to fairness by prioritizing those willing to give, but others articulated ethical concerns that were not emphasized by scholars, in particular that the policy would add to the erosion of social solidarity, increase divisiveness, and enable people to abuse the system. Mistrust in the health care system emerged as a prominent reason for not registering as an organ donor. Implications about the importance of transparency in the organ transplantation system as a basis for an information campaign, social norms regarding organ donation, and the public's involvement in policy issues on organ donation are discussed.
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