Article

Transplantation ethics from the Islamic point of view.

Center for Study and Research of Medical Ethics, Ministry of Health and Medical Education, I.R. Iran.
Medical science monitor: international medical journal of experimental and clinical research (Impact Factor: 1.22). 05/2005; 11(4):RA105-9.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Organ transplantation has been transformed from an experimental procedure at Western academic centers to an increasingly common procedure in private and public hospitals throughout the world. Attendant with advancements in organ harvesting, preservation, and transplantation come moral issues. Islam is a holistic religion that takes into account social affairs of man as well as spiritual ones. Islam has a long history of ethics literature including the subgenre of medical ethics. Historical considerations are discussed as to why Muslim thinkers were late to consider contemporary medical issues such as organ donation. Islam respects life and values the needs of the living over the dead, thus allowing organ donation to be considered in certain circumstances. The sources of Islamic law are discussed in brief in order for non-Muslims to appreciate how the parameters of organ transplantation are derived. The Islamic viewpoint, both Shiite and Sunni, is examined in relation to organ donation and its various sources. The advantages and disadvantages of brain dead and cadaveric donation is reviewed with technical and ethical considerations. The Islamic concept of brain death, informed and proxy consent are also discussed. We discuss the concept of rewarded donation as a way to alleviate the current shortage of organs available for transplantation and consider secular and religious support for such a program. Suggestions are made for greater discussion and exchange of ideas between secular and religious thinkers in the Islamic world and between the Islamic world and secular Western countries.

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    ABSTRACT: There is worldwide shortage of organs for solid-organ transplantation. Many obstacles to deceased and live donation have been described and addressed, such as lack of understanding of the medical process, the issue of the definition of brain death, public awareness of the need for transplants, and many others. However, it is clear that the striking differences in deceased and live donation rates between different countries are only partly explained by these factors and many cultural and social reasons have been invoked to explain these observations. We believe that one obstacle to both deceased and live donation that is less well appreciated is that of religious concerns. Looking at the major faiths and religions worldwide, it is reassuring to see that most of them encourage donation. However, there is also scepticism amongst some of them, often relating to the concept of brain death and/or the processes surrounding death itself. It is worthwhile for transplant teams to be broadly aware of the issues and also to be mindful of resources for counselling. We believe that increased awareness of these issues within the transplant community will enable us to discuss these openly with patients, if they so wish.
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