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Wien Med Wochenschr. 2009;159(17-18):452-6. doi: 10.1007/s10354-009-0703-7.

An Asian perspective on organ transplantation.

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Department of Social Medicine, Chungshan Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan.


The organ transplantation seems to have become a route practice of modern medical treatment when a patient's organ fails providing that she/he can afford the cost and a suitable organ is found. This practice, however, was not without scepticism and reservation at least to some Asians, for instance, Japan has been reluctant to launch a brave search for organs to save any patient whose organs fail. The western world including Vatican has seen donating one's organ for transplantation to save others as an act of love. Compassion is one of the main teachings in Asian tradition too, therefore culturally, Asians should be in favour of this modern medical treatment. But the ancient teachings of Asia also call for respecting parents by carefully safeguarding the gift of body that they gave and abiding in Tao to follow the flow of nature. What will the Asian ancient sages say to this new modern medical technology? This article will examine the teachings of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism to find out how they respond to the procedures of organ transplantation.

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