Sunday, January 29, 2017
Should a person with mental disabilities be denied an organ transplant?
The New England Journal of Medicine recently reported that U.S. Congress legislators made a petition to the Department of Health and Human services regarding whether a person with disabilities should receive an organ transplant or even be put on the list. With over a hundred thousand people on the waiting list for an organ, it’s safe to say the supply is limited. Some healthcare providers are afraid to give a person with intellectual/mental disabilities an organ because of the fear it may be “wasted.” The theory is that the person receiving the organ may not have the mental capacity to take care of themselves post-op and, thus, the organ may be rejected. If that is the case, someone who could have taken better care died while on the waiting list. However, research has shown that children with intellectual disabilities have the same odds of having a successful transplant as the children without disabilities. This study did not include adults, however, and children do have parents, guardians, or caregivers to ensure the best quality of care. Still, healthcare providers are wary to give children the transplant if they have a disability. One story became viral of a three-year-old girl named Amelia Rivera when she was denied a kidney transplant. The reasoning? She suffered from Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome that causes severe intellectual impairment. The internet created a campaign with over fifty thousand people supporting her and she received the transplant. Other man in his twenties was denied a heart transplant because he was diagnosed with autism. Medical professionals are now calling for a review board that can make the decision if the case is debatable. Personally, I think they should not be excluded on the waiting list or denied an organ transplant.