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Critical Analysis Of Face Transplants

639 words - 3 pages

In the article, Justifying surgery’s last taboo: the ethics of face transplants, Freeman and Jaoude (2007) argue that from an ethical and moral perspective there is great concern surrounding the practice of face transplants in modern medicine. These concerns are ever present for the recipient, the donor and donor’s family, and finally for the disfigured community and society as a whole. Face transplant surgery could pose great risks for the recipient, not only medically and physically, but also psychologically and emotionally. The main issue for a patient receiving a face transplant is that because the face represents our individual identities, having a new face could distort and potentially destroy that identity, and how that person perceives and relates to their selves (Freeman & Jaoude, 2007). In addition, the surgery could be a disappointment to the patient and cause them to feel less “normal” than they did with their prior facial abnormalities (Freeman & Jaoude, ...view middle of the document...

For instance, if full facial transplants were done successfully for disfigured patients, it could send the message that a greater quality of life is only achievable through aesthetic means (Freeman & Jaoude, 2007). The entire idea of disfigurement has been a by-product of social and cultural forces that cause many people to feel judged by their appearance and possibly assume that attaining a new face is the only option to be accepted by society (Freeman & Jaoude, 2007). Overall, Freeman and Jaoude (2007) have presented a well-rounded case for arguing against the continuation of full facial transplants.
Although they bring about many interesting and compelling ideas, Freeman and Jaoude (2007) lack a solid foundation of research about the actual effects of the surgery because it is still a relatively new procedure, and instead have to rely on what they believe to be potential effects. Another area that could be improved upon is that they fail to address the dilemmas this could cause for health care providers involved in face transplant cases. Working with these patients could cause health care professionals to reach conflicts of their duties in trying to please both parties while still attempting to adhere to their professional standards. Although the article does not examine the physician and nurse’s roles in depth, one of the main strengths is that it works to appeal towards health care professionals in a way. It reminds us that our patients are human beings and anything that depersonalizes them should not be considered as a potential therapeutic intervention. In addition, Freeman and Jaoude (2007) also show strength in their argument when they ensure to explore the spectrum of areas where this surgery could have a potential effect, all the way from a single person (ie. the recipient) to society as a whole. Through examination of Freeman and Jaoude’s (2007) argument, I would agree with them in having concern about full face transplants being implemented before full ethical and legal guidelines have been discussed and developed. Current and future health care providers should be cognisant of each procedure they provide to patient to ensure they are providing the most therapeutic solution for a health problem.

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