The ethics of limb disposal: Dignity and the medical waste stockpiling scandal
We draw on the concept of dignity to consider the ethics of the disposal of amputated limbs. The ethics of the management and disposal of human tissue has been subject to greater scrutiny and discussion in recent years, although the disposal of limbs often remains absent from such discourses. In light of the recent UK controversy regarding failures in medical waste disposal and the stockpiling of waste (including body parts), the appropriate handling of human tissue has been subject to further scrutiny. Whilst this scandal has evoked concern regarding procurement and supply chain issues, as well as possible health and safety risks from such a ‘stockpile’, the dignity of those patients’ implicated in this controversy has been less widely discussed. Drawing on Foster’s (2014) work, we argue that a dignity framework provides a useful lens to frame consideration of the disposal of limbs after amputation. Such a framework may be difficult to reconcile with the logic of business and the ‘biovalue’ of medical waste but would we argue afford more patient centred approaches towards disposal. It may also facilitate better practices to help mitigate future stockpiling incidences.
The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
Citation : Hanna, E, Robert, G. (2019). The ethics of limb disposal: Dignity and the medical waste stockpiling scandal. Journal of Medical Ethics, 45, pp. 575-578
Research Institute : Institute for Allied Health Sciences Research
Peer Reviewed : Yes