The Science and Social Science of Organ Replacement
Sciences and Education Department
Psychology and Mental Health Counseling
This interdisciplinary case study uses the format of a progressive disclosure to explore certain advances in biotechnology and evaluate them within the framework of societal needs, concerns and pressures. When faced with a heart valve transplant, a high school student and her mother must decide between multiple approaches, some current and others emergent. Highlighted in this case study are the topics of xenotransplantation, 3D bioprinting and the mature minor rule. The case includes a role-playing, public hearing activity that can be used to explore many aspects at the interface of technology and culture: religious rights, parental rights, public health care policy and safety, animal rights, economic issues of organ marketing, and psychological issues of body image. This case study was originally designed for first year collegiate classes (introduction to biology, introduction to psychology) but is also applicable to AP high school. The flexible nature of the case also allows for expansion of several aspects for advanced classes across multiple disciplines.
- Recognize the signs and symptoms of endocarditis.
- Explore the various forms of organ transplantation with an emphasis on evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of mechanical vs. biological heart value transplantation.
- Examine the criteria that should be used to define a young person as a mature minor in the context of medical decisions.
- Describe the following as they relate to organ transplantation:
- Biological: xenotransplantation, stereolithographic 3D bioprinting, stem cells, cloning, vascularization, totipotency, immunorejection, zoonotic disease.
- Psychological: cognitive development, psychosocial development, identity development, moral development, bereavement, body integrity disorder.
- Legal: mature minor, capacity, competence, statute, common law, competing interest.
Keywordsorgan replacement; xenotransplantation; 3D bioprinting; body integrity disorder, mature minor; bioethics;
Topical AreasEthics, Legal issues
Educational LevelHigh school, Undergraduate lower division
Type / MethodsDilemma/Decision, Interrupted, Public Hearing
Subject HeadingsBiology (General) | Biomedical Engineering | Psychology | Biotechnology | Public Health | Science (General) | Interdisciplinary Sciences |
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Teaching notes are intended to help teachers select and adopt a case. They typically include a summary of the case, teaching objectives, information about the intended audience, details about how the case may be taught, and a list of references and resources.
The podcasts below are optional materials that provide additional background for this case study.Human-Animal Hybrids Find Their Place in Medicine
3D Printing Living Cells