Applying utilitarianism to the presumed consent system for organ donation to consider the moral pros and cons

Applying utilitarianism to the presumed consent system for organ donation to consider the moral pros and cons
Jelena Morris, Janet Holt
British Journal of Nursing, 1 November 2021; 30(19)
Abstract
In May 2020, England adopted an opt-out approach for organ donation, also referred to as the deemed consent system, with the aim of alleviating the demand for organs in the UK. This system dictates that those who have not opted out will have their organs donated following their death, with the exception of those meeting certain criteria. This article applies the philosophical theory of utilitarianism to the deemed consent system for organ donation, focusing particularly on topics such as that of informed consent and family refusal. Utilitarianism is a consequentialist theory that attempts to determine whether an action is morally right or wrong based on whether or not it maximises the preferences of the greatest number of people, with each person’s satisfaction being considered as equal to another’s.

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