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The Ethics of Transplants – Why Careless Thought Costs Lives
Author: Janet Radcliffe Richards
Publisher: Oxford University Press
The publication of this book is timely, with the draft Human Transplantation (Wales) Bill presented on June 18 to the Welsh assembly and likely to become law in Wales next year.
Janet Radcliffe Richards steers an even course through the choppy waters of ethical thinking on organ transplants. Her purpose is to make us consider our personal views and look afresh at our own objections and those of others. The arguments against an opt-out system are emotive, but people’s fears, however irrational some might be, cannot be dismissed lightly.
The book acknowledges the moral dilemmas and difficulties facing the transplant and intensive care teams, ethics committees and policymakers. It makes no attempt to infl uence or promote a particular view, except the importance of remaining focused on the practical problems and listening to the arguments.
Rationality in ethics does not demand that we ignore intuition, but there is a need to test our beliefs and standards continually, to decide what should prevail.
The author reminds us that delays in making decisions mean that people are dying who could be saved – something we should all find unacceptable.
Reviewer: Susan Watkins
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