Ethical considerations in living skin donation

Dr David Moon1, Dr Jeon Cha1

1Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, Australia

Living solid organ donation has been subject of much ethical discussion since its inception in the 1950s. Whilst legislated in Australia and heavily debated, transplant surgeons continue to experience moral dilemmas with living solid organ donation. In contrast, living skin donation is not currently a standard model of care in Australia, whilst in other regions of the world it has become accepted practice.

We discuss the recent ethical considerations specific to living skin donation faced in Severe Burns Unit at Royal North Shore Hospital whilst managing a 26 year old male patient with a 85%TBSA burn. Should living skin donation be offered in Australia? Is it necessary?

An understanding of the interplay of social ethics, religious beliefs and resource limitations are required prior to applying the principles of autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice in any ethical discussion on living skin donations. Consideration of these factors varies markedly between Australia and other regions of the world.

Ethical rationalisation remains complex. In helping to elucidate and conclude this intricate ethical discussion we have applied more traditional ethical theories evaluating whether an action is morally right or wrong.

Plastic Surgery Registrar, Severe Burns Unit, Royal North Shore Hospital.

Recent Comments