Deontology In Nursing: Ethical Dilemmas In Organ Transplantation

Understanding Ethical Frameworks in Healthcare

In the health care system, two ethical systems widely used to make ethical decisions are utilitarianism and deontology. These systems can be applied to many different bioethical issues, one being organ donation and transplantation. Ethical dilemmas are bound to arise in situations such as organ transplants, and when this happens, choices of action must be made. There is a systematic process that nurses should follow for making ethical decisions. Recommendations are made for the healthcare system to implement in order to correct or prevent certain situations.

To understand how utilitarianism and deontology can be utilized in decision-making, we must understand what they mean. Utilitarianism focuses on “the sole criterion that determines the morality of an act is whether it brings about more good than harm on the whole.” On the other hand, the deontological perspective focuses on the mindset that “consequences are important but not determinative. Rather, morality is determined based on the properties of action, and there are rules to distinguish permissible from impermissible actions.

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Some acts (e.g., stealing, lying, or killing) are considered inherently wrong and are generally impermissible even as a means of furthering good outcomes.” These two theories are widely used in the healthcare system today. Laws in all states have been passed that require healthcare professionals to refer all potential organ donors to the local organization responsible for organ recovery.

Deontology vs. Utilitarianism: The Trolley Problem

Whether one practices utilitarianism or deontology, ethical dilemmas are bound to arise when handling situations and making certain decisions. One ethical dilemma related to organ transplantations and/or donations and bioethics would be to kill or not to kill in order to save more lives. The trolley problem was created to help individuals better understand a bioethical dilemma related to deontology vs. utilitarianism. The trolley problem asks, “Is it permissible to save five innocent people from a runaway trolley by killing one innocent person?”

Many may also ask themselves if it is permissible to save five innocent people who need organ transplants by killing one innocent person who is a match for all five. If one answers yes, they are thought to believe in utilitarianism. If one answers no, they are considered to believe in deontology because no one human being is greater than another being. The choice of action would be based on saving five lives by killing one person or saving one person who could have potentially saved five others. Although this is just a hypothetical situation, it happens to the reality of ethical decision-making.

Controversies in Organ Donation

One bioethical issue related to organ donation and transplantations involves the question of what constitutes death. Many people have many different opinions on this topic. Organs are preferred to be received from a donor who still has a beating heart. Because of this, some think that doctors may declare a person dead before they actually are. Also, another fear is that doctors may not work as hard if someone is fighting for their life and a donor. Franklin Miller and Robert Troug worked together for many years to write a book, contemplating the ethics of harvesting organs from supposedly dead clients. They wrote, “Physicians routinely kill their patients both when they withdraw life-sustaining treatment and when they harvest their organs, and that physicians should continue to do such procedures so that one should abandon the so-called “dead donor rule,” which requires that patients be dead before their organs are harvested.” This continues to be another bioethical situation relating to organ transplantation, in which utilitarianism and deontology have different viewpoints.

Ethical Decision-Making in Nursing

There is a systematic process that nurses should follow for making ethical decisions. This is due to many reasons. They mostly help deal with their client’s physical and psychological needs in the best way possible by determining right and wrong in situations. Healthcare systems receive recommendations for implementation to correct or prevent specific situations. However, ethical dilemmas are usually difficult to resolve. Because of this, many models have been created to help nurses do this. One model widely used among nurses in the healthcare setting is the problem-solving method. This method is based on the nursing process. First, the nurse must identify the potential ethical dilemma. Second, the nurse will collect, analyze, and interpret data. After stating the dilemma, the nurse must decide if it can or cannot be resolved by the nurse. If it cannot be resolved by a nurse, then no action should be taken.

However, if it can be resolved by a nurse, potential solutions must be listed. The potential solution will either be acceptable consequences or unacceptable consequences. If it is acceptable, then an ethical decision will be made, leading to a dilemma resolution. If the solution leads to unacceptable consequences, no action should be taken. Catalano wrote, “Recognizing key aspects to the dilemma helps focus attention on the important ethical principles. Most of the time, the dilemma can be reduced to a few statements that encompass the key ethical issues.”

Two ethical systems widely used to make ethical decisions in the health care system are utilitarianism and deontology. Many bioethical issues, such as organ donation and transplantation, can have many different ethical dilemmas. Choices of action must be made when these situations occur. The problem-solving method is a systematic process nurses can use to make ethical decisions. This method also helps nurses correct or prevent certain situations.


  1. Barak-Corren, N., & Bazerman, M. H. (2017). Is saving lives your task or God’s? Religiosity, belief in God, and moral judgment. Judgment & Decision Making.
  2. Brugger, E. C. (2016). Are Brain-Dead Individuals Dead? Grounds for Reasonable Doubt. Journal of Medicine & Philosophy.
  3. Catalano, J. T. (2015). Nursing Now!: Today’s issues, tomorrow’s trends. Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Co.
  4. Saenz, V. (2015). Inquiry in bioethics and the philosophy of medicine: organ donation, defining death, and fairness in distribution. Journal of Medicine & Philosophy.

Animal Abuse Speech: Unveiling The Cruel Reality

Understanding Animal Abuse:

Animal abuse is one of the most tragic and preventable crimes in society. Every year, thousands of animals are beaten, neglected, or forced to suffer in many ways. The vast majority of these animals are defenseless dogs and cats, but horses, rabbits, birds, and other animals are also victims of Abuse. Most animal abusers are not sociopaths; they are everyday people who care about other people and animals. But for whatever reason, they allow their anger, frustration, or lack of empathy to lead them to hurt an animal. Animal abuse is a serious crime that can have lasting physical and emotional effects on both the victim and the abuser. Abused animals often suffer from physical injuries, including broken bones, lacerations, and puncture wounds. They may also suffer from internal injuries, burns, or exposure to toxic chemicals. Emotionally, abused animals often become withdrawn, fearful, and mistrustful of people. Animal abuse is not only cruel, but it is also dangerous. Abused animals are more likely to bite or attack people, and they may also suffer from long-term health problems. People who abuse animals are also more likely to rebuke other people.

Physical and Emotional Toll:

Animal abuse is an ever-worsening plague that leads to an animal being wounded or dying. As evidenced by many cases, animals suffer from physical and mental torment at the hands of their maltreaters. This ranges from beatings and confinement to neglect and malnourishment – all of which are abhorrent practices in any context. In the USA today, 10 million animals die every year from physical Abuse. Almost every 60 seconds, an animal faces Abuse around the world! These statistics do more than raise a few eyebrows. Humans must get together to stop our little friends and, in some cases, our life-savers from being mistreated.

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The Alarming Statistics:

Animal abuse occurs because of human frustration. Sometimes, frustration does not come off by abusing an animal; the abuser may target another person. The cruelty these individuals inflict upon innocent creatures generates a great deal of anger and violence inside them. Therefore, it is essential for those who know or suspect someone who abuses animals to try to understand this destructive behavior and its underlying psychological roots. Otherwise, the person may lash out at others in ways that cannot be controlled or predicted. Power Over Abuse: abusers feel powerful when mistreating animals because they feed off our fear and discomfort. They see the animal as a lesser being with no rights or sense of self-worth, making them feel dominant and powerful compared to the victimizer’s presumed low status within society.

The Aftermath and Fear:

Many animals often stray away from humans after being abused. This is because they associate humans with the Abuse and violence that they experienced. They may also be afraid of humans or believe that they are dangerous. Abused animals often become scared of humans and may try to avoid them at all costs. They may also act aggressively or even lash out when we approach the animals in an attempt to protect themselves. In some cases, this can lead to injuries or even death on the part of the animal.

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