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February 12, 1968

Thou Shalt Not Covet

Author Affiliations

Winnimani, Canada

JAMA. 1968;203(7):525. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140070081026

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To the Editor:—  Your recent editorials, "Have a Heart" and "Change of Heart," generated much outpouring of adrenalin in many of your readers. The callous proposal of licensed private heart farms and the frivolous speculation about the effect of cardiac transplantation on popular lyrics are offensive to good taste. Problems of organ transplantation are too serious to be treated in such cavalier fashion.As in the days of cannibalism, when a human being was a source of desirable flesh, so, in the future days of unrestrained organ transplantation, one human being may become a tempting source of organs to another. Could there be a stronger inducement to murder, genocide, or war than the prospect of replenishing depleted organbanks?In order to forestall these grisly developments, strong moral indoctrination becomes necessary. I suggest that we augment the list of commandments by adding an Eleventh, "Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Viscera."