The Center for Ethical Solutions has several project categories, through which it is attempting to reach conclusions about the best means to help solve current problems with and about the medical system. While each category has enumerated research ideals, there can be, and in the case of the Solving the Organ Shortage section, are, several sub-projects occurring concurrently. If you are interested in assisting the center with any of the following projects/categories, please visit our “How Can I Help?” page for information on volunteering or donating resources to the Center.
Our Newest Project is The American Living Organ Donor Network
We are sponsoring the start-up of a much needed resource for living donors. The new organization will provide resources and eventually funding to help Americans help other Americans through living organ donation. CES support will end once the organization has its own funding sources. See www.HelpLivingOrganDonorsSaveLives.org
The Kidney Sellers: A Journey of Discovery in Iran.
Sigrid Fry-Revere is the first Westerner to ever do an in-person investigation of kidney selling in Iran. She spent nearly two months visiting six transplant regions in Iran, videotaping hundreds of interviews with donors and recipients and with those who arrange kidney sales. This book chronicles her personal experience, beginning with her son’s cancer, her research into the suffering of U.S. dialysis patients, and finally to her adventures in Iran. Insightful, tragic, and even at times funny, this book tells the story of how the U.S. has failed its kidney disease patients, while Iran, of all places, may have found a way to save them.
Healthcare Decision Making (Try Our Advance Directive Steward)
Patient advocacy increasingly involves difficult health care decisions, many involving end-of-life care. Unfortunately, in addition to having to deal with emotionally trying decisions, clients and their families also have to deal with an ever more confusing plethora of laws and regulations concerning what decisions are permitted and how to document them. The Center is pleased to announce that we have developed a prototype for a free, on-line, interactive decision-making tool for making and implementing end-of-life healthcare decisions. View the “Advance Directive Steward” project page to try the prototype or go to http://ethical-solutions.org/ydycig/ The Center is interested in finding funding to complete the project.
Solving the Organ Shortage
Across the United States and around the world, the organ donor / recipient gap is wide – and growing. In 1993, an estimated 7 individuals died each day in the United States waiting for an organ or tissue transplant that never arrived. As of March 2008, the death rate increased to 18 individuals who died each day waiting for a transplantable organ or tissue. According to the Organ Procurement and Trasnplantation network, as of September 2011, over 110,000 individuals were on the waiting list whereas only 6,925 donors were recorded from January-June of 2011 (Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, available at http://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/data/. Last accessed 6 September 2011.)
Our currently proposed projects include:
- A fact sheet for a quick overview of kidney disease, dialysis and efforts being made to solve the organ shortage.
- A book on the Iranian Organ Procurement System entitled “The Kidney Sellers,” expected out early 2013.
- A report on Documenting Organ Procurement Around the World – due out by the end of 2012. We are still looking for native speakers to help with gathering information for Africa and parts of Asia.
- A documentary film, “As Time Runs Out,” about the struggle of an American on dialysis waiting for a kidney. The project is ready for post-production and we are currently seeking funding for the costs associated with post-production.
- We have developed a research proposal for studying U.S. attitudes towards compensation for living-kidney donation (compensation consisting of anything from monetary reimbursement for expenses, to health benefits or financial rewards). The Center is pursuing potential grant opportunities to help fund this study.
- Educating policy makers on proposals that will protect living organ donor rights and increase benefits to help living organ donors donate. See the Stop Organ Trafficking Now! website.
Legal Trends was a legal column started in 1990 by Sigrid Fry-Revere for the Journal of Clinical Ethics. Dr. Fry-Revere stopped publishing it for the Journal because she felt the lag time between when events were reported and published (about 4 months) made the information less useful. She resumed publication in 2007, at the point when articles began to appear more readily on the Internet. Internet publication has the advantage over traditional methods that scholars and researchers can disseminate thoughts and fidings immediately on the Internet, making the information more pertinent and useful.
Currently, the column is published solely through this website.
View the page for links to all “Legal Trends in Bioethics” columns published by Sigrid Fry-Revere. Click here for the current issue.
The Center for Ethical Solutions is working on analyzing the special medical needs of America’s veterans. Dr. Kara Forest is a scholar at the Center working on issue of PTSD and TBI. Her next project will be writing a Fact Sheet on veterans and suicide.
The use of addictive substances within the medical profession has long triggered controversy and legal limitations on use. In response to understanding more about the effects of addictive substances within a medical context, our society has redefined the legal and social standards for permitted use. Society’s ethical balancing involves the considerations of alleviating an individual’s experience of pain while minimizing chemical dependency such that one’s quality of life suffers due to addiction.
The Center does not have any current projects in this area but is interested in finding scholars and funding sources to analyze pain management issues.
The vast field of study encompassed under ‘bioethics’ affords a vast milieu of discussion topics. We are in the process of creating a blog. The Center’s Patient-Care Ethics Hot Topics blog is aimed at offering a springboard for discussion on topics currently in the news. The Center aims for 2-3 posts a week about a wide variety of topics.