By Bob Simpson

Bob Simpson, CMH Affiliate, is a professor of anthropology at Durham University, UK. His research interests centre on the anthropology of biomedicine, bioethics and biotechnology. He was a member of the UK’s Nuffield Council on Bioethics Working Party on Donation and Human Bodies between 2009-11 and has published numerous articles on the circulation of blood, gametes and tissue in a variety of social and cultural contexts. He writes:

It was recently reported by the Guardian that there has been drop in organ donation rates in the UK.[i] It was also reported at about the same time that a woman successfully argued in the courts that her mother’s last will and testament should be over-ridden so that she might receive a bequest that her mother never wanted her to have.[ii] In different ways, in each of these stories the intentions of the living with respect to their own death come into tension with how those intentions are realised by those who are left behind.

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