Should developmental disorders determine eligibility for life saving transplants?


Momma (MeMe) - posted on 08/18/2012




I am appalled that this occurs. A person with a development/mental disorder deserves a fighting chance as I or the next person, does. If they do not have any other life threatening illnesses, then they are just as equally organ worthy as anyone else, that would qualify.

I don't care about his behaviour, his mother obviously is not concerned, either. I am sure she would be there to help him and guide him. I am sure she would ensure he was at each follow up and was getting the care he needed, as an organ donor. Now what? She is supposed to sit by and wait for her son to die? Haven't they already been through enough? Especially, the mother.

It is ridiculous, that a doctor would turn someone down for such a reason. What if it was their kid? I bet there would be a heart for their developmental disordered child.

Cherish - posted on 08/18/2012




This happens more often then most people realize.It makes me mad,and I hope to never be in that situation with my son.
I do not think it should matter how "profound" the disability is.They would not deny a "typical" 2 yr old for a transplant just b/c a toddler can not take care of themselves or follow up.They would expect the parents to manage such appointments.
And if they are worried about steroids causing more aggressive behaviors,and the parents are willing to address that IF it does become a issue,who are they to say no?
And how come his life is less important then someone who does not have a developmental disability?

Johnny - posted on 08/17/2012




Absolutely not. As long as they do not have other health concerns that could also be terminal, I can not agree with turning them down. And that goes for anyone. I'd agree that if one has something like an inoperable tumor, that it makes sense not to give a heart or other organ to someone who would not be able to make full use of it. But this boy and anyone with a developmental disability or similar such things have an equal right to life. I actually find this rather shocking and dismaying. As a registered donor, I'd much rather have my organs go to this kid than to someone like Dick Cheney.


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no it shouldn't. just because a person has a developmental disorder doesn't mean they are less of a person and have less value as a human being. a neutotypical person shouldn't be valued higher than someone who is not neurotypical. not only that, but it would essentially be denying the person needed medical help based on a disability, and we don't do that with other health problems, like cancers or diabetes or mental health problems.

Jen - posted on 08/21/2012




Wow. That's a really scary situation. What's next, requiring an IQ test and only allowing transplants for those who score above a predetermined number? Not giving transplants to anyone who makes less than a certain amount of money? Or who lives in the wrong neighborhoods? Scary. :-(

Becky - posted on 08/18/2012




No. I can understand where some of the concern comes in in regards to ongoing monitoring and follow-up, but it sounds like this young man had a strong support system in his family and would be taken care of. But ultimately, when you take something like that into consideration and deny a person a lifesaving procedure based on it, you are then valuing one life over another, and that is wrong.

Kathy - posted on 08/17/2012




No! All lives have value and I am not comfortable placing one life higher than another, particularly where no serious underlying health conditions exist.

I am disgusted that the doctor in the article tried to rationalise the decision not to accept an autistic patient with this:

"The thing to keep in mind is if more of us would sign donor cards, there would be less pressure to reject anybody. It's the huge shortage of hearts that really drives this problem," said Arthur Caplan, head of the Division of Medical Ethics at New York University's Langone Medical Center."

Of course we need more organ donors. Don't use that to justify denying an otherwise physically healthy autistic patient.

Michele - posted on 08/17/2012




I think the bigger concern was the boy being able to follow up with needed medications and the impact of the steroid/anti-rejection drugs on someone who already has rage issues due to autism.

Does it matter how profound the developmental disability is? If they can't take care of themselves for instance?

(I was pretty dismayed also, but thought it would be an interesting debate)

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