In her letter “Age & organ transplants” (June 12 and TribLIVE.com), nurse Mona GaNung wished that Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, President Obama's former chief health-care adviser, would use his influence on health care.
Too late — he already did, when he wrote along with two co-authors in the Jan. 31, 2009, edition of The Lancet: “When implemented, the complete lives system produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most substantial chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuated.”
Dr. Emanuel wants doctors to look beyond the needs of their patients and consider social justice, such as whether the money could be better spent on somebody else. He wrote in the Hastings Center Report (November-December 1996) that medical care should be reserved for the non-disabled, not given to those “who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens ... . An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia.”
The Lancet article he co-wrote also said: “Even if 25-year-olds receive priority over 65-year-olds, everyone who is 65 years now was previously 25 years.”
John R. McDonald Jr.