Showing posts from November, 2006

Ethical Question: Transplants

Here is an ethical problem I've been mulling over in my head the past few weeks:

2 patients need a heart transplant, Patient A and Patient B. Patient A is extremely sick, needs an immediate transplant, and has about a 5% chance of surviving, even with a successful transplant. Patient B is not as sick as patient A, and could conceivably wait up to a year for a transplant. If he receives a transplant now, his chance of surviving is 90%. A heart becomes available. The only two matching candidates on the transplant list are Patient A and Patient B. Who should get the heart? What if the percentages were changed? Who should decide?

Underlying issue: How do we balance medical necessity with availabe resources?

Note: My family has experience with transplants, as my father received 2 kidney transplants and a pancreas transplant. I'm looking forward to getting my Dad's perspective on this question.


I'll be watching this afternoon's Steelers/Broncos game within plain view of the RCA dome in Indianapolis, the site where the Steelers did the impossible on the way to completing THE IMPOSSIBLE run. I feel good about today's game against Denver. I think my friend Jag is at the game. The Steelers, now clearly playing back against wall, will find a way to pull this one out. Next week, we do the same at home to a good New Orleans team. Then, to get back to .500, we win in Cleveland where they will be gunning for the opportunity to stifle our pipe dreams. And if that happens, we go into our first showdown with Baltimare at .500, and anything is possible. Just looking at this dome across the street reminds me of that.

Go Steelers.