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Killing patients may be justified for transplants, ethicists argue

February 09, 2012

Opening a new offensive against the “culture of life,” two ethicists have argued that doctors might sometimes be justified in deliberately causing the death of their patients, if the vital organs of those patients can be used for transplants.

Writing in the Journal of Medical Ethics, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Franklin Miller—of Duke University and the National Institutes of Health, respectively—admit that some patients are alive when their organs are removed for transplants. Undeterred by that finding, they suggest a change from the moral standard that doctors should never deliberately kill patients. “In contrast, we have argued that killing by itself is not morally wrong, although it is still morally wrong to cause total disability.”


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  • Posted by: Chestertonian - Feb. 09, 2012 11:15 PM ET USA

    My response to this suggestion: you first. Be a role model by offering up your own organs! Except your hearts and brains, of course, as it appears you have none, and are therefore without feeling or reason.

  • Posted by: normnuke - Feb. 09, 2012 10:41 PM ET USA

    And so it begins. How nicely this precious initiative against the 'culture of life' (sneer, sneer, sneer) will tuck into the implementation of Obamacare.

  • Posted by: unum - Feb. 09, 2012 9:14 PM ET USA

    There are plenty of voices on the left speaking our for immoral behavior. This is a "dog bites man" non-story. Where are the voices in our Christian institutions speaking out for moral behavior? Who is education America that immoral behavior has harmful consequences, but moral behavior has beneficial consequences. Christ did not set out to be popular. Instead he set out to speak the truth. The politically correct speech of our Christian churches would have been abhorrent to Jesus.

  • Posted by: wsw33410 - Feb. 09, 2012 8:45 PM ET USA

    welcome to Hitler's healthcare program ... the "good doctors" are rightful heirs of Dr. Mendele

  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Feb. 09, 2012 7:29 PM ET USA

    Just when one thinks mankind can sink no lower, here comes these ethicists. They are so amoral,they see nothing wrong with killing for the organs. How do we not escape God's wrath?

  • Posted by: rpp - Feb. 09, 2012 7:03 PM ET USA

    Killing is not morally wrong but causing total disability is? Is that the justification for killing people, that otherwise they would be disabled? How sick and utilitarian.