Transplant in a patient with comorbid psychiatric illness: an ethical dilemma

Eric N. Boyum, Douglas Brown, Ahmed M. Zihni, Jason D. Keune, Barry A. Hong, Ira J. Kodner, Shuddhadeb Ray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article addresses a difficult ethical dilemma that transplant surgeons may potentially encounter: whether a patient with a psychiatric illness is a good candidate for a liver transplant. This case study illustrates the challenges involved when considering the ethical principles of patient self-determination, distributive justice of scarce medical resources, "social worth," and protection of vulnerable patient populations. Are patients with psychiatric illness able to provide consent for transplantation? Is it possible to avoid misallocating valuable donor organs and, at the same time, fairly allocate these resources? This article seeks to answer these questions and provide insight into this ethical dilemma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-44
Number of pages5
JournalBulletin of the American College of Surgeons
Volume99
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

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