Body Concept as Barrier to Organ Donation and the Proposed Role of Financial Incentives
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This study explores the role an individual's concept of the body plays in contributing to opinions about the ethical use of financial incentives to increase organ donation in the United States. It examines how professional and personal backgrounds have contributed to differing views of the body among American transplant professionals, donors/recipients, and laypersons. The author's research is based on current literature in the fields of anthropology, psychology, economics, and bioethics. Research methods included semi-structured interviews with individuals both professionally or personally involved with transplantation, and various observations at Fairview University Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Renal Care Group in Oshtemo, Michigan. Opinions on the use of financial incentives to increase organ donation were found to be based on the individual's concept of the body, which appears to be largely influenced by professional training or personal experience with transplantation. Based on research findings, the dualistic approach to modem medicine in the United States played an important role in the formation of transplant professionals' opinions, whereas, skepticism and lack of understanding of the medical field strongly influenced the opinions of the laypersons. All participants feared a commodification of the body.