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Ethical dilemmas related to living donor liver transplantation in Asia

Abstract

Living donor liver transplantation (LDLT) has evolved rapidly in Asia with good outcomes for both donor and recipient. Nonetheless, LDLT remains a highly demanding technique and complex surgery. The potential risks to the donors provide the basis for many of the ethical dilemmas associated with LDLT. The transplant team must have a good knowledge of the principles of bioethics in order to handle these matters. To look after the need, donor’s safety and the chance for good recipient outcomes, the principles of respect for the donor’s autonomy, beneficence, and non-maleficence should be practiced. In accordance with the concept of equipoise, the risk to the donor must balance the benefit to the recipient. The transplant center should have adequate experience and proven expertise in LDLT. There are concerns regarding the validity of informed consent given by the donor. While donations to non-relative patients may, at first sight, indicate radical altruism, it is important to apply careful scrutiny. Though organ trading is strictly prohibited by the law, there seems to be an inherent risk with directed donations to strangers. Transplant tourism has flourished in some countries in spite of the existence of strict laws. There are reservations regarding transplantation done by foreign visiting teams. Donor websites facilitating patients and donors and Facebook pages bear no responsibility for the outcomes of their matches and cannot ensure sufficient and accurate information about donation, transplantation, and post-operation life. Telemedicine and virtual consultations appeared to work better when the clinician and the patient know and trust each other.

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Correspondence to Zaigham Abbas.

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This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors. The case studies in this article are hypothetical based on the experience of the authors.

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Shazi, L., Abbas, Z. Ethical dilemmas related to living donor liver transplantation in Asia. Ir J Med Sci 188, 1185–1189 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11845-019-01989-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11845-019-01989-7

Keywords

  • Asia
  • Ethics
  • Living donor liver transplantation