Age & organ transplants
By The Tribune-Review
Published: Tuesday, June 11, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Regarding The Associated Press news story “Philly-area girl's parents fight organ donor rule” (May 28 and TribLIVE.com): I am a nurse with 25 years of experience in a university teaching hospital where research and transplantation is the common work assignment.
Working in pediatrics, I see many children afflicted with cystic fibrosis, one of the most challenging chronic illnesses to manage. Is it this child's cross to bear that there has been neither adequate research nor sufficient data to set up proper statistical recipient-age models?
Who are we to say that an adult has more right to an organ than a child? If the medical match is clear for size and tissue type, shouldn't the existing policy apply to all ages based on acuity of illness?
Ironically, current United Network for Organ Sharing policy regarding kidneys allows a donor's age to be plus or minus 15 years compared to the recipient's age, if life expectancy of the organ is 20 percent to 100 percent. Why does this policy only apply to kidney transplants?
I'd like President Obama's former chief health-care adviser, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, to demonstrate his influence and promote research for change in policy regarding age restrictions of organ recipients.
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