Organ transplant group rejects changes to rules
By The Associated Press
Published: Monday, June 10, 2013, 9:48 p.m.
The national organization that manages organ transplants rejected making emergency rule changes on Monday for children younger than 12 who are waiting on lungs but developed a special appeal and review system to hear such cases.
The executive committee of the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network held a teleconference to consider children who seek to qualify for adult lungs, and many members voiced serious ethical and medical concerns about a recent federal judge's ruling that questioned the existing system.
The meeting was prompted by the cases of 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan and 11-year-old Javier Acosta, two terminally ill children who are waiting for transplants at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Last week, federal Judge Michael Baylson ruled that they should be eligible for adult lungs after Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius declined to intervene in such cases. Both children have end-stage cystic fibrosis.
One expert on transplant ethics said the network is trying to acknowledge the concerns Baylson raised but also issue a warning.
“I think what they're trying to tell the judge is ‘We have a system. It's working. Let us decide, not you,” said Dr. Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at New York University Langone Medical Center.
He said the judge's ruling “did hit a moral nerve” because the network recognizes the need to examine the claim that the 12-year-old distinction for lung transplants is arbitrary, but OPTN tried to “preserve the integrity of the system by not changing the rule” based on court intervention.
The Murnaghans' attorney, Steve Harvey, called the vote a “positive development” and said it creates “a little appeals process” for all young people in similar lung transplant cases. Harvey said Sarah's case may go back before the new OPTN appeal process, but he said they plan to ask Sebelius to keep Sarah eligible for adult lungs, as the judge instructed, until such a review is over.
The family has said that Sarah may only have a few weeks to live and that no suitable lungs have been found for her, even with the emergency exemption.
Committee member Alexandra Glazier said during the call that while she can't comment on specific transplant cases, judicial intervention is “not an appropriate approach” to managing organ donation.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- VA fears budget cuts will reverse drop in homelessness
- From prison to presidency, Mandela reformed South Africa, ended apartheid
- New York City commuter train derailment kills 4, hurts more than 60
- Time ticking on Mass. offshore wind farm
- Sandy Hook 911 calls fuel sensitivity debate
- Rockwell smashes record for American art
- Young Americans sour on Obama
- Detroit retirees antsy as hit to pensions unclear
- Don’t give up on health care law, Obama urges young activists
- White House flops: Obama knew uncle
- Snowy owls travel south