SEMINAR CANCELLED Opt-outs and organ allocation: Should those who opt out be deprioritised?
Professor Stephen Wilkinson, Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion, Lancaster University
Wednesday, 06 March 2019, 11am to 12.30pm
Ethox and the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities are based at the Big Data Institute, University of Oxford, Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Information and Discovery, Old Road Campus, Oxford OX3 7FZ. The talk will be held in seminar room 0.
This talk will be rescheduled next academic year.
In opt-out organ donation systems, should the needs of those who choose to opt-out be deprioritised if they come to need a transplant organ themselves? Should such people be given additional negative points in the allocation algorithm? The principal argument in favour of this is one of fairness and avoiding ‘free-riding’. In addition, it has been argued that it would discourage opting-out and thus save lives by increasing the supply of transplant organs. On the other hand, a variety of different ethical and practical objections have been raised to the proposal and much of this paper is spent unpacking and evaluating these. Its ultimate conclusion is that there is a strong ethical case for deprioritisation. Whether this is the right public policy however very much depends on practical questions such as: To what extent would it improve supply? Would it be more or less effective than other policy changes? How effectively could it be communicated to the donating public? Would be seen as discriminatory? And would it improve or damage trust in the donation system?