Primum Non Nocere: Beneficent Deception

Posted: 5 Jun 2007 Last revised: 1 Jul 2009

See all articles by Mary Simmerling

Mary Simmerling

Adler University; Cornell University, Weill Cornell Medical College

Peter Angelos

Northwestern University

Joel Frader

Northwestern University - Feinberg School of Medicine

John Franklin

Northwestern University - Feinberg School of Medicine

Joe Leventhal

Northwestern University - Feinberg School of Medicine

Michael Abecassis

Northwestern University - Feinberg School of Medicine

Abstract

The use of the blameless medical excuse in organ transplantation is intended to provide an immediate shield against strong pressures that reluctant potential donors might feel to go through with living organ donation. The excuse elaborates a substantially false or exaggerated anatomical or physiological reason why the potential donor is not a good candidate for donation medically. Thus it is intended to protect reluctant potential donors' privacy and confidentiality by masking from the potential organ recipient the fact that they do not wish to go through with the donation. However, because the excuse involves the presentation of that which is false as true, it puts transplant physicians in the position of engaging in - or at least being complicit in - the intentional deception of patients. This paper considers various ethical and legal issues that may arise from of the use of such deception in the context of organ transplantation.

Keywords: organ transplantation, medical excuse, deception, beneficence, legal ethics, coercion

Suggested Citation

Simmerling, Mary and Angelos, Peter and Frader, Joel and Franklin, John and Leventhal, Joe and Abecassis, Michael, Primum Non Nocere: Beneficent Deception. DePaul Law Review, Vol. 57, No. 2, pp. 243-250, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=991358

Mary Simmerling (Contact Author)

Adler University ( email )

17 N. Dearborn
Chicago, IL 60604
United States

Cornell University, Weill Cornell Medical College ( email )

1300 York Avenue
New York, NY 10065
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://vivo.weill.cornell.edu/display/cwid-mcs2006

Peter Angelos

Northwestern University ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Joel Frader

Northwestern University - Feinberg School of Medicine ( email )

Chicago, IL 60611
United States

John Franklin

Northwestern University - Feinberg School of Medicine ( email )

Chicago, IL 60611
United States

Joe Leventhal

Northwestern University - Feinberg School of Medicine ( email )

Chicago, IL 60611
United States

Michael Abecassis

Northwestern University - Feinberg School of Medicine ( email )

Chicago, IL 60611
United States

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