Title: Ethical Considerations in the Liver Transplant Case of Mickey Mantle: A Seven-Step Decision Model Analysis
The case of Mickey Mantle’s liver transplant brings to light various ethical considerations surrounding the allocation of organs for transplantation. As a prominent Baseball Hall of Fame center fielder, Mantle’s deteriorating medical condition and history of alcoholism sparked a debate about whether exceptions should be made for notable individuals in need of vital organs. This paper aims to analyze the ethical dimensions of the Mickey Mantle case using the Seven-Step Decision Model. The model will provide a comprehensive framework to evaluate the merits of making exceptions for heroes in the organ allocation process.
Step 1: Identify the decision to be made:
The decision at hand is whether or not the medical system should make exceptions for heroes like Mickey Mantle in the organ allocation process. This decision involves considering the ethical implications of prioritizing certain individuals based on their fame or contributions to society.
Step 2: Gather relevant information:
To make an informed decision, it is crucial to gather all relevant information. In the case of Mickey Mantle, understanding his medical condition, the waiting time for a liver transplant, and the ethical principles guiding organ allocation is imperative.
Mantle suffered from cirrhosis and hepatitis, placing him in a critical condition. The average waiting time for a liver transplant in the United States is approximately 130 days, but the Baylor Medical Center’s transplant team found a donor within two days. Mantle’s deteriorating health was cited as a reason to prioritize his case. However, opinions were divided due to the perception of preferential treatment for celebrities.
Considering the ethical principles of organ allocation, such as equity, justice, and utility, it is essential to evaluate the potential impact of making exceptions for heroes like Mantle. An assessment of Mantle’s chances of survival compared to other liver transplant patients is also relevant. His estimated three-year survival rate was 60%, below the average survival rate of 78% for liver transplant recipients.
Step 3: Evaluate the alternatives:
In the case of Mickey Mantle, there are two primary alternatives to consider:
Alternative 1: Make exceptions for heroes
This alternative involves prioritizing individuals based on their contributions to society or their iconic status. By making exceptions for heroes, the medical system acknowledges the significance of their achievements and the potential impact their survival could have on society.
Alternative 2: Maintain the current allocation system
This alternative adheres to the existing organ allocation system, providing equitable treatment to all patients based on medical urgency and severity of their condition. It remains consistent with the principles of fairness and justice.
Step 4: Apply ethical principles:
In analyzing these alternatives, it is crucial to apply core ethical principles:
1. Equity: Prioritizing heroes would create an inequitable distribution of organs based on fame rather than medical urgency. This would undermine the principle of equity, as other patients with similar or worse medical conditions may be denied timely transplantation.
2. Justice: The current organ allocation system, which considers factors such as waiting time and medical urgency, ensures fair treatment for all patients. Deviating from this would compromise the principle of justice.
3. Utility: Prioritizing heroes like Mantle could yield societal benefits if their contributions continue. However, individuals should not be prioritized solely based on their potential societal impact. The primary focus must remain on the medical need and urgency of patients.
Applying these principles indicates that maintaining the current organ allocation system aligns with ethical considerations.
Step 5: Determine the best alternative:
Based on the analysis of ethical principles, it is evident that maintaining the current organ allocation system is the best alternative. Prioritizing heroes like Mickey Mantle would compromise equity and justice, potentially leading to negative consequences for other patients in need.
Step 6: Implement the decision:
To implement the decision, it is crucial to reinforce the existing organ allocation policies and ensure their consistent application across all cases. Transparency in the decision-making process and public education on the ethical considerations guiding organ allocation would help foster understanding and acceptance.
Step 7: Evaluate the results:
After the decision to maintain the current organ allocation system is implemented, it is imperative to evaluate its outcomes. Continuous assessment of the allocation process, making necessary adjustments, and addressing any ethical concerns that may arise will contribute to the improved functioning of the system.
The analysis of Mickey Mantle’s liver transplant case using the Seven-Step Decision Model demonstrates the complexities of organ allocation and the interplay between ethical principles. Whilst heroes like Mantle may have made significant contributions to society, making exceptions for them in the organ allocation process undermines principles of equity and justice. The priority should remain on medical need and urgency, ensuring fair treatment for all patients.