(Ballarat: Connor Court Publishing, 2012)
Paperback: 200 pages
The author was involved with transplantation almost since it became an established practice and witnessed many controversial changes. As a professional ethicist and having chaired government enquiries, he explored all aspects of the harvesting and use of human tissue. Having conscientiously refused a kidney transplant himself, and witnessed conscientious objection by nurses and doctors, the author aimed to improve current practices and to assist people who may make the generous decision to donate relatives’ organs and tissues after death or, much more rarely, the heroic decision to donate their own organ or tissue while alive. Others suffer major organ failure and may need help to make a decision to receive an organ or tissue. Some choose to be involved in medical practice or medical research involving transplants. Commercial biobanks of human tissue have developed rapidly and there are now many tissue products used, not only for medical treatment and diagnosis, but also for cosmetic purposes. There are now trade risks to altruistic donation, loss of equity of access to transplant treatments, rationing decisions, perverse incentives, and efforts to remove the need for consent so as to increase availability of tissue. There have been some major developments in the determination of death. That raises complex religious matters to do with how we understand the soul and the body and life after death, and the churches must revisit the issue.
About the author
The late Associate Professor Nicholas Tonti-Filippini (1956-2014), BA (Hons), MA (Monash), PhD (Melb), FHERDSA, KCSG, was associate dean and head of bioethics at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Melbourne. The Institute is associated with the John Paul II Institute in Rome and the Lateran University. It is registered as a higher education provider in Australia to provide graduate courses in bioethics, theology of marriage and family, and religious education. Dr Tonti-Filippini was a philosopher who specialised in bioethics for the more than 30 years, including having been Australia’s first hospital ethicist and director of bioethics at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne, 1982-1990. He was well-known internationally and published widely in bioethics. A few years before his death he chaired an Australian government public enquiry to produce recommendations for trade in human tissue and tissue products.
“These excellent volumes bring together a life-time of intellectually rigorous and faithfully Catholic work in bioethics. As Australia’s pre-eminent Christian scholar in the area, Tonti-Filippini has for a generation been one of the most outspoken and sane voices in public debates over abortion, genetic testing, the new reproductive technologies and end-of-life decisions. A ‘must read’ for any health professional, ethics student or educated layman interested in exploring these questions and emerging from the labyrinth wiser and more compassionate.” — The Most Reverend Anthony Fisher OP, appointed in 2014 as Catholic Archbishop of Sydney.
“At St Vincent’s Hospital, we discovered Nick by chance; a strange name at the end of a letter to a newspaper. A person to enter the rough and tumble of the new science of bioethics at the beginning of the 1980s. A formidable philosopher, an articulate debater, an outstanding administrator, a courageous defender of his religious beliefs, courteous to friends and foes alike and deeply committed to his family and to the many institutions for which he worked. His autobiography tells the tale of his accomplishments and his book on bioethics reveals the depth of his knowledge and experience. This is a publication for all seasons.” — Dr Joseph N. Santamaria, former director of community medicine, St Vincent’s Hospital, Fitzroy, Melbourne.
“Dr Nicholas Tonti-Filippini’s book traverses many important issues in bioethics, both from a secular and from a religious perspective. It is an absorbing and persuasive exposition which is a welcome contribution in a critical field. The author sets out to provide arguments which are both cogent and recognise that bioethics is a pluralist system of regulations of biomedical research and practice. He succeeds admirably.” — The Hon. Sir James Gobbo AC, CVO, QC, 25th Governor of the state of Victoria (1997-2000).