Boundaries: A Casebook in Environmental Ethics

By Christine E. Gudorf; James E. Huchingson | Go to book overview
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fifteen
Understanding
Xenotransplants

Crossbreeding Humans or Advanced
Domestication of Animals?

“I 'M JUST NOT CONVINCED,” Hassan said to his friends. Liz, Jason, I Nirad, and Hassan were all first- or second-year residents who had -M» met for lunch across the street from the university hospital, where they had all just completed rounds on the kidney transplant floor. They had been discussing Liz's announcement that she was planning to specialize in urology—specifically, kidney transplant surgery.

“But Has,” Liz protested, “you've seen the stats on transplant life expectancy—especially with kidneys. Life expectancies are constantly rising, along with quality of life. How many thousands of people who had endstage renal disease are now living almost fully normal lives ten and even twenty years posttransplant? And heart and liver success rates are continuing to rise. Like kidney transplant patients, they have fewer and fewer complications as the steroid dosages continue to decrease. There's no reason to doubt that in another five to ten years the success rates of heart, lung, liver, and pancreas transplants—and even these new intestinal transplants—will have improved beyond all recognition. What kind of reservations can you possibly have when you compare that to the deaths these patients would otherwise experience?”

-259-

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