Hastings Center Report
Vulnerability, Autonomy, and the Living Organ Donor
Abstract: The Living Organ Donor as Patient: Theory and Practice, by Lainie Friedman Ross and J. Richard Thistlethwaite, Jr. (Oxford University Press, 2021), offers a stimulating opportunity to consider the ethics of living solid organ donation in more depth. Ross and Thistlethwaite detail a framework of five principles—respect for persons, beneficence, justice, vulnerability, and responsibility—that positions prospective living donors as patients. The authors engage readers by applying these principles across a series of examples, issues, and possibilities, the “practice.” Readers may wish to reflect further on the framework’s implications, including those related to vulnerability, power, and social justice (to name a few), particularly as these relate to the “theory” of this book. The book is well worth the read for clinicians, ethicists, and others involved in organ donation and transplantation.