Transplant Discrimination Essay

Submitted By Alexana23
Words: 858
Pages: 4

The case that I decided to do further research on is the case about discrimination in transplant patients. In my previous documentation in regards to the case of African Americans and kidney transplants many points regarding ethical and legal issues were mentioned. There are different points of views in regards to this topic and in some cases they may just be an opinion but what happens when we really do start to see a pattern of possible discrimination. Has discrimination gone as far as impacting the healthcare organization and how transplant patients are selected? As I investigated more and more the issue, I found that discrimination in transplant patients is not only based on ethnicity.
In an article about organ transplant and discrimination by Peter Byme, consultant psychiatrist, he points out how treatment should be available to everyone. During the first 11 years of a heart transplant program in Montreal, 226 transplants were completed and 28 people were denied the procedure on the basis of psychiatric diagnosis. Basically many patients were being denied full transplant treatment because they had mental retardation. Denial of transplant on the basis of schizophrenia or non-compliance violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. A New Jersey Assembly committee has advanced a measure to end organ transplant discrimination based on mental or physical disabilities. The legislation stems from an incident involving a three year old Stratford, New Jersey girl. She reportedly was refused candidacy for a kidney transplant by a doctor at a Philadelphia hospital because she suffers from the developmental disability, Wolf-Hirschorn syndrome. Tom Baffuto is executive director of The Arc of New Jersey. He says being turned down for an organ transplant because of disability is appalling. "We are well aware that the number of those in need of transplant far outweighs the number of organs available. However, distribution must be fair and non-discriminatory.
To make matters worse the discrimination in transplant patients does not stop here. There has also been discrimination against elderly patients who may be on a transplant waiting list. The UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing ) wants to dictate whether a name stays on the transplant list or gets dropped. FOX News and the Washington Post are reporting that the healthier, younger patients will be getting the good kidneys for transplant first. If this passes, people who have been on the list for several years and are now over 50 will be hard pressed to get a donor kidney. Is this fair? Some bioethicists and transplant surgeons say yes. Others worry that people will stop donating the kidneys. If people who need kidneys age 50 and over are going to be dropped, will they still want healthy kidneys donated from 50 year olds? Others like Lainie Friedman Ross, a University of Chicago bioethicist and physician, say that people age 50 and older will never see the good kidneys from donors aged 35 and under if this goes into effect. Ross says that people in their 50s and 60s can live another 20 years with a good donor kidney (Tomfeld). Then there is the case of discrimination based on race. African Americans have a higher prevalence of hypertensive renal disease and represent a high percentage of patients on the transplant waiting list, yet the percentage of those that receive transplant organs is much lower compared to white transplant patients which receive organs.
However information produced by the Institute of Human Values in Health Care points out some facts that may give valid reasons to why African Americans are receiving…