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ss triple helix - summer 2002,  The Ethics of Transplantation (Book Review)

The Ethics of Transplantation (Book Review)

The Ethics of Transplantation - Keith Rigg - Grove Books Ltd 2001 - £2.50 Pb booklet 24pp ISBN 1851744797

Keith Rigg is a consultant transplant surgeon in Nottingham and Reader at one of the local churches. He is well placed to write this 24 page booklet on the ethics of transplantation. Transplantation is here to stay and most members of the Christian community, as well as other religious groups, welcome it. However, there are many different ethical questions that need to be discussed and it is important that all members of the medical profession are aware of them.

This booklet, one of the excellent Grove series, looks at transplantation under four main headings: 'Outlining the issues', 'The donor perspective', 'The recipient perspective' and finally asks: 'What next?' The first area introduces us to an overview of transplantation, and outlines the ethical principles used to develop a framework for our thinking. There is then a section on the definition of death and what happens to the body after death, followed by introductory paragraphs on donation, informed consent, funding and the supply of organs.

The donor perspective looks at both cadaveric, living related and unrelated donation, while the section from the recipient's perspective looks at the benefits, risks and allocation of organs. The final two pages look towards the future with a brief introduction to anencephalic donors, xenotransplanation and genetic engineering.

This booklet provides an excellent introduction to the field. Inevitably, within 24 pages much of the discussion is painted with broad brush-strokes, omitting detail. This is of itself no criticism of the work, but apart from the references cited in the text, there are no specific guides to further reading, which would have been helpful. All the same, this booklet provides an excellent starting point for discussion of some of the issues surrounding transplantation.

Reviewed by:
David Cranston
Consultant Urological and Transplant Surgeon in Oxford

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