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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Organ Transplant Discrimination

Previous posts have discussed discrimination in organ transplants.  Disability Scoop reports:
People with developmental disabilities who are in need of life-saving organ transplants are facing widespread discrimination from health care providers, a new report indicates.

In what’s believed to be the first comprehensive look at the experiences of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities seeking transplants, advocates found that individuals are routinely turned down for the procedures due to their special needs.

The report released this week by the Autistic Self Advocacy Network indicates that doctors often weigh the presence of a developmental disability when making decisions about transplant eligibility, but to what degree varies largely depending on the type of organ needed. Evidence suggests that many heart transplant centers consider a cognitive impairment reason enough to make the procedure inadvisable, while disabilities are generally less of a driving factor in determinations related to liver and kidney transplants, for example.

Federal law prohibits health care providers from discriminating on the basis of a person’s disability. Nonetheless, the report finds that given the broad discretion that doctors have in making medical judgements “decision-making done on the basis of disability can often be officially attributed to non-discriminatory motives.”