Medical Ethics: Vital Organs/Unconscious State

Vital organs refer to the human body parts that play a key role in someone’s life. When vital organs stop functioning, the death process begins, and depending on the organ, an individual can die in a range of five minutes (Cioffi, 2016). Some examples of vital organs include the heart, brain, lungs, two kidneys, whole stomach, among other things. This paper explores the vital organs in the human body system.

Some body organs may be significantly important, but they are not vital organs. Some of the non-vital organs in the human body include the spleen that has two parts where one part recycles red blood cells while the other store white blood cells and platelets (Cioffi, 2016). Other organs in the body that are not vital include the gallbladder, appendix, reproductive organs, among others. Although these organs may be termed not vital, human life would be difficult without them.

The function of the brain is to create, send, and process nerve impulses, emotions, and physical sensations. The brain is like the core of the central nervous system in the body. The major areas under the organ include the medulla that controls the heart and lung function. Other areas, such as the parietal lobe, assist the body in interpreting pain and touch signals (Cioffi, 2016). Brain stem assists in controlling the heart rate, sleeping, eating, and breathing. The heart is a significant organ in the human body because it is responsible for pumping blood into the entire body. The heart works with the lungs to add oxygenated blood through the vessels hence around the whole body.

Lungs filter the air that human beings breathe by removal of excess carbon dioxide and substituting it with oxygen. The liver is equally important in the body but in the metabolic system. Through the liver, nutrients are converted to usable constituents (Cioffi, 2016). The liver also removes toxins and filters blood that comes from the digestive tract. Kidneys assist in filtering blood and removal unwanted waste in the body. Kidneys also produce urine after waste removal from the blood. Pancreases produce pancreatic juice that has enzymes that break starches, sugars, and fats in the body. Small intestines absorb all nutrients that a person gets from foods into the bloodstream. The large intestine absorbs water and salt from undigested materials and removes any waste remaining.

It is possible to live without some vital organs such as half a brain, one kidney, and one of the lungs. A human being can survive for a significant period if the other organs are functioning well in the body. Through surgical operations, these organs may be removed if they pose a risk to someone’s life (Cioffi, 2016). For example, if an individual’s kidney is removed, the other kidney can compensate for the lost one and serve the needed function in the human body. However, there is a risk of developing issues such as high blood pressure and proteinuria.

Assisting vital organ is bioethically right because it is a standard medical practice that may consist of devices, procedures, and medications that are clinically approved. In bioethics, these procedures are considered ordinary ways of supporting life since they are termed necessary for keeping human beings alive (Cioffi, 2016). On the contrary, substituting vital organs involves the utilization of more elaborate medical equipment and processes such as anesthesia and surgical operations. Substituting procedures are said to be extraordinary ways of supporting life and, therefore, having morals obligatory in medical practice.

Dialysis is a way of assisting vital organs because it does some of the functions of kidneys. It is needed to support life when kidney failure happens to human beings, especially when an individual loses about 80% of the kidney functions (Cioffi, 2016). A respirator also assists the lungs in filtering and purifying the air that human breathes. Respirators protect people from hazardous atmospheres such as particulate matter, microorganisms, and fumes. Respirators range depending on the condition of the person wearing them (Cioffi, 2016). The main function of the ventilator is to pump oxygen into the lungs and also assists in removing carbon dioxide from the lungs. Therefore, it assists lungs for that sake, and it is bioethically right to have one when in need.

Tracheotomy is substituting procedure since it involves the creation of an opening in the neck to enable a tube into someone’s windpipe. For tracheotomy to be performed, a person has to be subjected to general anesthesia hence falling asleep without feeling pain. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a technique used in life-saving procedures during emergencies such as near-drowning or heart attack. It assists the heart and lungs to breathe and pump blood by performing compressions when an individual is laid on their back.

Ethics and Religious Directives (ERD) part five enlightens the reader about issues in care for seriously ill and dying patients. From the reading, the catholic health care department knows the reality of death and has the confidence of faith in that. During the dying moments, the church witnesses that God created every human being for eternal life (Catholic Church, 2018). The hard part is witnessing the dying aspect due to the people who depend on the person, the love for human life, and the pain that accompanies the terminal illness. The truth of the matter is that human beings have no control over life since they don’t own it. The church condemns procedures such as euthanasia and suicide because it is morally unacceptable. The church regards the use of technology in saving lives but warns people over the intentional use of equipment to end life (Catholic Church, 2018). The church recommends medically assisted nutrition and hydration rather than an intention to cause death. Therefore, human dignity must be respected when it comes to medical care in healthcare institutions around the world.

Unconscious state in the context is defined as lack of response to stimulus pain. Examples include coma, traumatic brain injury, fainting, and epileptic seizure. It means the reservoir of feelings, urges, memories, and thoughts is not aware of the pain, anxiety, or conflict (“The Unconscious States,” 2021). The clinical definition of a coma is when an individual is not able to move or respond to the environment. On the other hand, a persistent vegetative state involves advanced levels of coma where a patient is in a situation of wakefulness without noticeable alertness. A traumatic head injury occurs when sudden trauma leads to stops the damage of the brain when someone is hit by an object. Brain hypoxia occurs when there is insufficient oxygen supply in the brain leading to an unconscious state. (“The Unconscious States,” 2021). Epileptic seizure involves a brain disorder where a person is not able to generate cognitive and neurobiological conditions. Syncope refers to fainting that is caused by the sudden drop of blood that flows in the brain.

In bioethical analysis, the ethical means of life support should be proportionate and but not disproportionate. Clinical means of life support should be standard medical practices. When a healthcare institution performs extraordinary life support, they subject their procedure to experimental treatment, which is a burden in health care (“The Unconscious States,” 2021). The wellbeing of a person must be considered when deciding whether or not to withhold or withdraw life-saving treatment. A medical practitioner should have ethical approaches such as proportionate means of preserving a patient’s life without judging the outcome. It is more beneficial to forgo extraordinary means of preserving life because there would be prevention of painful procedures to the person.


Cioffi, A. (2016). Distinguishing between assisting and substituting for vital organs. Ethics & Medics, 41(9), 1-3. Web.

Catholic Church. (2018). Ethical and religious directives for Catholic health care services. [E-book] (6th ed., p. 20). United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Unconscious States. (2021). Lecture, United States.

Cite this paper

Select style


NursingBird. (2022, August 15). Medical Ethics: Vital Organs/Unconscious State. Retrieved from


NursingBird. (2022, August 15). Medical Ethics: Vital Organs/Unconscious State.

Work Cited

"Medical Ethics: Vital Organs/Unconscious State." NursingBird, 15 Aug. 2022,


NursingBird. (2022) 'Medical Ethics: Vital Organs/Unconscious State'. 15 August.


NursingBird. 2022. "Medical Ethics: Vital Organs/Unconscious State." August 15, 2022.

1. NursingBird. "Medical Ethics: Vital Organs/Unconscious State." August 15, 2022.


NursingBird. "Medical Ethics: Vital Organs/Unconscious State." August 15, 2022.