Education And Debate

Substantial harm but substantial benefit

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 27 January 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:241
  1. Julian Savulescu, Sir Robert Menzies medical scholara
  1. a Clinical Ethics Project, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford OX3 9DZ

    Ms Delany is right to focus attention on the often neglected interests of bone marrow donors. Donating marrow is not in donors' medical interests, but is it in their overall interests? Delany minimises the benefits: “the only positive aspects” are “pleasure at helping the…recipient” and “basking in the approval of parents and medical staff.”

    We should distinguish between donation to people to whom we are strongly attached and donation to others. Delany undervalues the extent to which our own wellbeing is intertwined with that of those close to us. To save the life of a loved one is one of the most important things we can do.

    Delany …

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