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Old 06-13-2013, 02:59 PM   #1
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The Ethics of Organ Transplantation

The story of Sarah Murnaghan has really started an interesting discussion on medical ethics. I completely understand why her parents went to the media, because if that were my child, I'd have done the same thing. I also understand why Kathleen Sebelia refused to make the exception, because she was deferring to people with greater medical knowledge than herself. Honestly, I'm a little concerned that the Judge's decision may have set a dangerous precedent.

A little background for those not familiar.

Sarah Murnaghan is a 10 year old girl who needs a lung transplant because she has cystic fibrosis. She was on the waitlist for a lung, but they keep the lists for children and adults separate. Her parents sued to allow her to be placed on the adult list, and given the severity of her situation she would be high on the adult list. The complicating factor is that because the adult lung won't fit properly, she'd be given just a part of the lung which has a lower chance of working, and she will need another transplant when she is an adult.
A judge last week ordered her to be placed on the adult list along with another child. Yesterday she was given a lung transplant.

Here's an LA Times article:

Girl's lung transplant leaves thorny ethical questions
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Old 06-13-2013, 03:10 PM   #2
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Hmm. Good questions here.

One thing for sure, I'm going to finally make it known that when I die, I want my organs to be donated. There's a shortage of organs and this is why these complications arise.
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Old 06-13-2013, 03:25 PM   #3
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Really thought-provoking story. I also very much understand the motivations of the parents (and the girl herself) and have no doubt that we would fight tooth and nail if it was our child.

From a policy perspective, it's a bit trickier. Assuming she makes it on the partial lung, she will need a second donor in a few years. That's two lungs that could have gone to adults who would not need a re-transplant in the same timeframe.
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Old 06-13-2013, 04:01 PM   #4
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when I die I want my organs to be sold
and the money donated to organ transplant organizations
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Old 06-13-2013, 04:14 PM   #5
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Right wing media had a field day with this one saying, "see death panels" we were right. But reality is something much different and the same issues, ethical questions, and hoops were there 4 years ago too, before the Affordable Care Act.
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Old 06-13-2013, 04:46 PM   #6
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Right wing media had a field day with this one saying, "see death panels" we were right. But reality is something much different and the same issues, ethical questions, and hoops were there 4 years ago too, before the Affordable Care Act.
Seeing the right wing media do that made me sick. Kathleen Sebelia could have taken the easy road and made the exception, but that would have actually made her into a "death panel", instead she did the right thing and defer to experts.
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Old 06-13-2013, 05:34 PM   #7
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Hmm. Good questions here.

One thing for sure, I'm going to finally make it known that when I die, I want my organs to be donated. There's a shortage of organs and this is why these complications arise.

I heard on a news report today that there is a huge shortage
of donors in the U.S.

In my state, on your driver's license, you can choose to be a organ donor.
This helps speed the process.

Why so many people refuse to do this, I don't understand.
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Old 06-13-2013, 06:05 PM   #8
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I am an organ donor as well, though I have a shitty diet and drink a lot so I hope they stay away from my heart and liver for the next guy's sake.
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Old 06-13-2013, 06:15 PM   #9
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Why so many people refuse to do this, I don't understand.
Many are not informed. Others are lazy and don't bother filling out the paperwork. And a good number will flat out say they don't believe in it because they think that a doctor will look at that and decide not to work too hard to save their life.
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Old 06-13-2013, 06:27 PM   #10
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Many are not informed. Others are lazy and don't bother filling out the paperwork. And a good number will flat out say they don't believe in it because they think that a doctor will look at that and decide not to work too hard to save their life.
And let's not forget those that don't for religious reasons, which I never really understood.
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Old 06-13-2013, 06:30 PM   #11
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I heard on a news report today that there is a huge shortage
of donors in the U.S.

In my state, on your driver's license, you can choose to be a organ donor.
This helps speed the process.

Why so many people refuse to do this, I don't understand.
It is confusing and sad.

Can you say which organs can be donated? I wouldn't the next person to have to wear glasses or contacts from the moment they wake up until they go to sleep. Plus I have slight asthma.
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Old 06-13-2013, 06:55 PM   #12
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I wouldn't the next person to have to wear glasses or contacts from the moment they wake up until they go to sleep. Plus I have slight asthma.
I'm pretty sure all that is taken into account
They don't just hand out organs all willy nilly
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Old 06-13-2013, 07:34 PM   #13
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And let's not forget those that don't for religious reasons, which I never really understood.
I haven't seen yolland around unfortunately but I was always under the impression that Jews (or at least those of the orthodox persuasion?) have to be buried with their bodies intact. Which is why you have those organizations in Israel whose job it is to pick up body parts after a suicide bombing, gruesome as it sounds. I assumed this extended to organ donation as well.
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Old 06-13-2013, 08:05 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by the iron horse View Post

I heard on a news report today that there is a huge shortage
of donors in the U.S.

In my state, on your driver's license, you can choose to be a organ donor.
This helps speed the process.

Why so many people refuse to do this, I don't understand.


In recent years, I lost someone very close to me very unexpectedly. Knowing his organs went on to help someone else provided us with some measure of comfort. At least something good could come of something so awful.
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Old 06-14-2013, 12:29 AM   #15
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I haven't seen yolland around unfortunately
Very unfortunate.
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