- Functional Description of All the Normal Vital Organs
- It Is Possible to Live Without a Vital Organ
- Distinction Between Assisting or Substituting Vital Organs
- ERD PART FIVE Introduction Summary
- Unconscious State. Different States of Unconsciousness
- Benefit vs. Burden: Bioethical Analysis
There are five vital organs in the human body that a person cannot live without. Several other organs work together with these vital organs to ensure the body’s normal functioning. Very important organs, but not vital, include the gallbladder, spleen, appendix, kidneys, lungs, stomach. Both lungs are identical, so removing one of them will not lead to dramatic consequences. After an operation to remove one of the listed organs, it becomes necessary to adhere, for example, to a specific diet if the gallbladder is removed. Still, the vital activity of a person will not significantly suffer.
Functional Description of All the Normal Vital Organs
The brain is the center of the human nervous system and performs many functions. The cerebral cortex functionally consists of three zones (Weishaupt, 2017):
- The sensory zone transmits them to the associative area.
- The motor zone controls motor acts that are adequate to the information received.
- The associative zone connects the incoming sensory information with the information stored in memory.
The primary function of the heart is to provide blood circulation by sending kinetic energy to the blood. The heart works with the lungs to add oxygen to the blood and pump oxygenated blood through the blood vessels and around the body (Villines, 2020). The lungs perform a vital function – supply of oxygen to the body. The primary function of the kidneys (Vikram, 2020) is cleansing the body of toxins. The kidneys are involved in phosphorus-calcium metabolism and the formation of bone tissue.
The liver takes part in all types of metabolism — exchanging proteins, fats, carbohydrates. It is also involved in the metabolism of vitamins and trace elements (Gropper et al., 2019). The liver, the stomach, pancreas, and small and large intestines enter the digestive system. The main functions of the digestive organs are the hydrolysis of food products or the digestive process.
It Is Possible to Live Without a Vital Organ
Vital organs are those that a person needs for survival, and a problem with any of these organs can be life-threatening. However, in paired organs, such as the kidneys and lungs, a person can even live with one of them. The function of the kidneys, for example, can be performed for a long time by a hemodialysis machine. Also, with medical help, a person can live without one lung (Villines, 2020). For instance, if one of the lungs is affected by a malignant tumor, it is necessary to remove the lung and pneumonectomy altogether. Rehabilitation after this operation takes some time, but a person can return to a normal rhythm of life.
Distinction Between Assisting or Substituting Vital Organs
There is a big difference between assisting and replacing vital human organs. In the case of an organ replacement, it is necessary to perform operations, which usually require more complex clinical equipment (Cioffi, n.d.). Substituting of vital organs is also not mandatory, only in situations where emergency measures are necessary. For example, dialysis is used in acute pathological conditions to replace the work of the kidneys in the process of blood purification. Like dialysis, tracheostomy is performed most often for vital indications to eliminate acute asphyxia.
By assisting, modern technologies help to maintain a stable state of the body. It is a common medical practice, which includes clinical procedures, devices, and medications; for example, a respirator helps get oxygen. In addition, there are devices that can both assist vital organs and substitute them depending on the patient’s condition. These ventilators provide respiratory support to the patient; CPR is a complex of emergency actions that maintain life when blood circulation or breathing stops. Very often, first aid is carried out with the use of the procedures mentioned above.
ERD PART FIVE Introduction Summary
The Catholic Ministry of Health (Catholic Church, 2018) meets the reality of death with the confidence of faith. Reflection on human life’s inherent dignity in all aspects and providing medical care is indispensable for formulating a proper moral judgment about using technology to support life. The use of life-supporting technologies is evaluated in the light of the Christian meaning of life, suffering, and death. We must preserve our life and use it for the glory of God, but the duty to protect life is not final because we can refuse life-prolonging procedures that are insufficiently useful or excessively burdensome.
Unconscious State. Different States of Unconsciousness
An unconscious state is a state that is the opposite of a conscious state, in which a person is not aware of the surrounding reality or does not respond to external stimulation. Types of loss of consciousness (Smith, 2021): 1) Short-term loss of consciousness – does not pose a danger to the patient’s life; it passes in a period from 1 second up to 5 minutes, without any severe consequences and medical intervention (fainting, hypoglycemia); 2) Loss of consciousness with severe disorders of vital functions (asphyxia, cerebral hemorrhage, stroke) (Smith, 2021). Unconsciousness can be either dangerous or not for a person’s life.
Benefit vs. Burden: Bioethical Analysis
Birth and death are increasingly dependent on the decision of some subject and active intervention in the natural processes of reproduction, for example, a medical worker, the person himself. A person has a moral obligation to use ordinary or proportionate means of preserving his life. However, a person can also refuse extraordinary or disproportionate means of maintaining life. Disproportionate funds are funds that, in the patient’s opinion, will entail an excessive burden or will impose high costs on the family or community.
Catholic Church. (2018). Ethical and religious directives for Catholic health care services. USCCB.
Cioffi, A. (n.d.). When to disconnect? Bioethical distinction between assisting or substituting vital organs. Institute for Bioethics, St. Thomas University.
Gropper, M. A., Miller, R. D., Eriksson, L. I., Fleisher, L., Wiener-Kronish, J. P., Cohen, N. H., Leslie, K. (2019). Miller’s anesthesia, 2-volume set. Elsevier Health Sciences.
Smith, O. (2021). Taking care of an unconscious person. Core Spirit. Web.
Vikram, K. (2020). Kidney failure management and options. Aakash Healthcare. Web.
Villines, Z. (2020). What are the organs of the body? Medical news today. Web.
Weishaupt, N. (2017). The cerebral cortex in neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders. Elsevier Science.