Friday, February 16, 2007

My weekend

Last weekend, I was on triage. Want an idea of what that's like? Read here. In the meantime, I'm in a holding pattern. I have a young donor and we're going to the OR at 1500. I was just complaining the other day that all my OR's seem to be at 4am. Fortune has smiled on me today, Hopefully, God willing and the creek don't rise, I'll be home in time for The Soup.

I'm thinking of doing a post on the ethics of who gets listed for an organ. Should drug addicts get a new liver? More to come, but I'm interested to hear peoples stories on the matter.


Elizabeth said...

Hrm. I'd like to see a transplant ethics post. Interesting topic.
Idealistically (and with extremely limited knowledge on the subject) I'd say no one life is worth more than another. Realistically...if I were an otherwise healthy and well behaved person, I'd be really pissed if someone who smoked heavily, drank heavily, etc. got an organ instead of me. Although in that case, the smoker/heavy drinker/etc. would probably be sicker and thus more in need of the organ.
In that same thread, should the organ be given to the person with the highest chance of survival after the transplant, or the one with the lowest chance without it...

Anonymous said...

I think this is a great topic and i can't wait to hear your thoughts.

I am a 30yr old with kidney failure. When I was a child i developed FSGS which is an ideopathic kidney disease. I live in a region where the list is loooong - 8-10 years (i have O blood) and expected survival on dialysis is 5 years, so... the math is bad.

In truth I find it hard that the wait is so long becuase so many people did not control their diabetes or hypertension. I have always taken very good care of myself, and now that I have a disease which I did nothing to cause, the fact that I might die before I can get a transplant becuase so many people didn't take care of themselves deeply frustrates me.

Right now there is an interesting issue in kidney world which is if they should change the list so that people who have a longer life expectancy get the organ. Right now 85 year olds are being given the organs of people in the twenties and thirties which seems CRAZY to me. I think that expected survival length is a great way to allocate these precious organs but I know from the patient boards than anyone over 50 is violently against it and due to the power of AARP maybe no change will be possible which is a terrible thing.

AzRN said...

Actually transplant programs have criteria for who is listed and who goes status 7. At our program, we seriously look at ETOH abuse, recreational drug use, and even tabacco abuse in potential recipients.

As a research coordinator in a solid organ transplant program that does both live and deceased donor transplants, I see these recipients pre and post transplant. Giving a kidney or a lobe of your liver to someone is a huge gift. It is a priceless gift as are the deceased donor organs we have to approach families for.

I have a real problem with recipients who do not take care of those precious organs as there are many in need and not enough organs to go around. If someone cannot get a handle on their lifestyle choices (tabacco abuse, ETOH abuse, etc...), how will they be able to handle the rigors of maintaining a new organ?

Anon- does your program offer living donor transplant? That can be a viable option for some folks. If not, think about looking at other programs and looking at all your options. Best case would be getting transplanted before you end up on dialysis. Good luck!

Manu Varma said...

There are a ton of angles to the ethics of who should get listed for an organ. Age, cause of organ failure, other habits, disabilities, geography... Would love to hear your thoughts on any of these.

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