Ghost Pain

In human history, the possibility of organ transplantation is rather new. Our forefathers and -mothers never had to deal with questions like: Do I want my dying body to be used for saving or improving somebody else’s life? What if I have to decide instead of a loved one? Is it ethical to declare a brain-dead person a material storage after all? It is very likely that people of former centuries would have been shocked by this idea.

The questions we ask ourselves today in case of organ donation often have a moral twist: Isn’t it unethical not to donate organs? Isn’t it selfish to let our organs rot or burn while ill people would need them urgently? Are these thoughts just the result of medical progress or are we also more altruistic than in earlier times? What will be possible a hundred years from now? Being alive and being healthy seem to be the only things we’re willing to make real sacrifices for. But we must never stop questioning. What is acceptable to you? What sacrifice will you offer for a »better« world?


The dystopian science fiction novel »Never Let Me Go« (2005) by Nobel Prize-winning British author Kazuo Ishiguro. The story begins with Kathy, who describes herself as a »carer«, talking about looking after organ donors. She has been a carer for almost twelve years at the time of narration, and she often reminisces about her time spent at Hailsham, a boarding school in England. The story revolves around three Hailsham students: Kathy, and two others, Ruth and Tommy, who develop a close but complicated friendship. All of them share the same fate: they are clones who were created to provide organs to others, a cycle of donations will end their lives when they are still young…

Dissect your mind!