Organ Transplant Discrimination Against People with Disabilities

From the NCD: For More Info, Go Here…

ngd- The first in a series of reports on Bioethics issues and our community. I will post the individual papers of the series as they become available…

Organ transplants save lives. But for far too long, people with disabilities have been denied organ transplants as a result of unfounded assumptions about their quality of life and misconceptions about their ability to comply with post-operative care.

Although the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability, organ transplant centers and medical professionals are often unaware that this prohibition applies to the organ transplant process.

NCD examined applicable federal and state laws, the disability-related policies of various organ transplant centers, and policies of the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN).

Among other things, NCD found that discrimination continues to occur in the nine states that have enacted laws explicitly prohibiting such discrimination; that disabilities unrelated to a person’s need for an organ transplant generally have little or no impact on the likelihood that the transplant will be successful; and that many organ transplant centers have policies that bar or caution against placing people with HIV , psychiatric disabilities, or intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) on the waiting list to receive an organ transplant.

The lives of people with disabilities are equally valuable to those without disabilities, and healthcare decisions based on devaluing the lives of people with disabilities are discriminatory.

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