A Better Half: The Ethics of Hemicorporectomy Surgery


This paper discusses the ethical issues related to hemicorporectomy surgery, a radical procedure that removes the lower half of the body in order to prolong life. The literature on hemicorporectomy (HC), also called translumbar amputation, has been nearly silent on the ethical considerations relevant to this rare procedure. We explore five aspects of the complex landscape of hemicorporectomy to illustrate the broader ethical questions related to this extraordinary procedure: benefits, risks, informed consent, resource allocation and justice, and loss and the lived body.

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    A pseudonym has been used to protect the patient’s identity.


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Correspondence to Jane Jankowski or Lisa Campo-Engelstein.

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Jankowski, J., Campo-Engelstein, L. A Better Half: The Ethics of Hemicorporectomy Surgery. Bioethical Inquiry 11, 289–294 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11673-014-9542-3

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  • Hemicorporectomy
  • Body modification
  • Risks and benefits
  • Informed consent
  • Resource allocation
  • Lived body