My current research program, which stems from my dissertation, focuses on the institution of organ transplantation. Since its inception, policymakers have concentrated on ways of improving the rate of organ donation in order to save more lives. Thus, the most important ethical and policy question that has emerged from the organ transplantation literature is: How should we procure organs from dead people?
A necessary step in answering this question, however, requires giving an account of what obligations we have towards organ donors. In my dissertation, I clarify what we owe to organ donors by answering central questions regarding how we ought to respect people’s autonomy when removing their organs. Specifically, I argue (i) that the main argument in favor of a policy of presumed consent is unsound, (ii) that when families veto their family member’s decision to donate, they do not violate their loved one’s autonomy, (iii) that obtaining a patient’s consent before removing her organs is not morally required in order to respect her autonomy, and (iv) that under certain circumstances, people have posthumous rights over what happens to their organs after their deaths.
I also worry about the allocation of scarce medical resources. In particular, what role does a patient’s responsibility for their diseases and illnesses play in their priority for scarce medial resources? And, what role, if any, should a person’s age play in their priority for scarce resources?
Recently I have been developing more of an interest in neuroethics and the ethics of technology. With respect to the former, I have published a short commentary piece on the ethical issues involved in using Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) therapy to treat incarcerated psychopaths, and I continue to be intrigued by the ethical and philosophical issues posed by the clinical and experimental use of DBS therapy. I’ve also been interested in the ethics of technology, especially digital technology. I currently have a co-authored paper under review on ethics of using ad blocking software.