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Medical Law and Ethics

Medical Law and Ethics (8th edn)

Jonathan Herring
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date: 01 October 2023

p. 4729. Organ Donation and the Ownership of Body Partslocked

p. 4729. Organ Donation and the Ownership of Body Partslocked

  • Jonathan HerringJonathan HerringProfessor of Law, Exeter College, University of Oxford


This chapter examines legal and ethical aspects of organ donation and body part ownership. Topics discussed include the Human Tissue Act 2004; liability for mishaps from organ transplant; the shortage of organs for transplant; xenotransplantation; selling organs; face transplants; and the living body as property. Running through this chapter is a discussion of whether it is preferable to see the body and parts of the body as property or whether they need their own system of legal protection through a statute. This debate ties into broader discussions about the nature of the self and what makes bodies valuable.

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