Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

My first published piece arguing against assisted suicide appeared in Newsweek’s “My Turn” feature way back in 1993. Among other points, I warned that assisted suicide would one day be tied to organ transplantation “as a plum to society.”  This has been advocated in some professional journals in the years since, but I never could find direct evidence of it actually happening—until now.

I just learned of a letter to the editor published in the medical journal Transplantation two years ago recounting how doctors euthanized a woman with “locked in” syndrome—fully conscious but totally paralyzed—at her request, and then—also at her request—harvested her organs for transplantation after she was killed.  The author/doctors’ conclusion:

This case of two separate requests, first euthanasia and second, organ donation after death, demonstrates that organ harvesting after euthanasia may be considered and accepted from ethical, legal and practical viewpoints in countries where euthanasia is legally accepted. This possibility may increase the number of transplantable organs and may also provide some comfort to the donor and his (her) family, considering that the termination of the patient’s life may somehow help other human beings in need for organ transplantation.

More details and analysis over at Secondhand Smoke .

Comments are visible to subscribers only. Log in or subscribe to join the conversation.



Filter First Thoughts Posts

Related Articles