My relative was the top name on a seven (?) state list for liver transplants. If it didn't happen that night, it wasn't going to happen. I was cognizant then of the fact that our hope that he'd get a liver meant that some other family was going to have to go through what we were hoping not to have to go through. I remember being in that ICU, wondering if it was OK to "pray for a liver" knowing that that really meant "pray for someone else's death".
It didn't happen that night. We went through it instead, and several other families had their prayers answered.
I wonder if, some day, our descendants will look back on us with the same horror with which we look back on bloodletters--"Can you believe they took organs out of one person and put them in another person?" Perhaps they'll look back on us with the same horror with which we look back on slave owners--"Can you believe they thought it was OK to kill unborn children?" Our medicine isn't really advanced at all. Will our descendants look back on us as barbarians?
Then I came across this article. It's bad enough to keep one person alive at the expense of another, it's quite another to all but lament that not so many people will be dying anymore:
One of the most highly-lauded advantages of self-driving cars is that a world filled with interconnected autonomous vehicles will significantly reduce the number of traffic accidents and resulting deaths. But this comes with an unintentional consequence: fewer organs will be available to hospitals for patients who need transplants...I guess "morbid" is one word for thinking this way.
We don't have enough donated organs to take care of the patients who need transplants as it is, and one in five organs used in transplants come from vehicular accidents. When the number of automotive-related deaths plummets from self-driving cars, one of the most reliable sources of healthy human organs and tissues will plummet as well. Most analyses suggest that autonomous vehicles will eventually prevent over half of the 35,000 deaths that occur on American roads each year, and some reports are much more optimistic...
It's morbid, but it's a reality of life—dead but otherwise healthy people are perfect organ donors. As the number of people seeking a transplant rises, self-driving cars are going to save the patients' otherwise-donors from an accident.