Ethical Implications in Donor and Recipient Utilization for Liver Transplant

  • Ramesh K. BatraEmail author
Liver (D Mulligan and R Batra, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Liver


Purpose of Review

The inception of liver transplantation although controversial continues to save daily lives of patients in need. Its successful practice is owed to the various medical advancements to cross the complex immunological and surgical barriers. Herein, we discuss the several ethical dilemmas in organ donation and transplantation with application of ethical principles and reflections from the literature

Recent Findings

There are several ethical and moral complexities when evaluating living donors and matching deceased donor livers to recipients. The lack of “one size fits all” turns these complexities into controversies and thus requires a well-balanced ethical approach for better acceptance.


Since the practice of transplant is dependent on the moral behaviors of society, i.e., act of organ donation, it confers many ethical issues that the transplant community has to carefully address. These issues are doubly onerous because every act of transplant has two parties involved: the donor and the recipient. Therefore, transplant physicians have to uphold the ethics of physician-patient relationship for the recipient, fair allocation of donor organs, and demonstrate good organ stewardship for the donated gift of the community, i.e., the organ. Thus, practice of organ transplantation is a unique blend of utilitarian and egalitarian principles while also being equitable and in line with the moral code of the Hippocratic Oath.


Liver transplant Organ donation Bioethics Organ allocation Autonomy Physician paternalism MELD 



I would like to thank Dr. David Mulligan (2019 President Elect, United Network for Organ Sharing; Professor and Chief, Yale New Haven Transplant Center), for his support, including review of this chapter.

Funding Information

This work was supported in part by Health Resources and Services Administration contract 234-2005-37011C.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author declares that there are no conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


The content is the responsibility of the authors alone and does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Health and Human Services nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Surgery, Yale School of Medicine, Yale New Haven Transplant CenterYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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