Transplant Injustice and the Response:Which Is The Greater Injustice?
From today's Los Angeles Times comes a story regarding St. Vincent Medical Center, a Los Angeles liver transplant center hospital, that in 2003 (just discovered now by the hospital doing a routine evaluation required by UNOS, the federal transplant agency) performed a liver transplant paid for by the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia. "The patient who received the successful transplant was, [however], actually 52nd on the list, which covers much of Southern California and takes into account such factors as who is sickest and who has been waiting longest."
The CEO of St. Vincent stated "A patient at UCLA Medical Center was entitled to receive the organ and St. Vincent should have declined it." The St. Vincent liver transplant program has now been suspended The involved director and assistant director surgeons associated with the liver transplant program were now no longer affiliated with the program.
"Suspending the program means that 75 patients on the waiting list for livers may have to seek care at other hospitals, possibly delaying their chances for a life-saving transplant. Patients who need livers typically suffer from end-stage liver failure, cirrhosis and other liver and metabolic diseases."
I see the ethical issue: the injustice of the original act vs an injustice to those 75 patients by the suspension of the liver transplant progrram. How does one work out this ethical equation? ..Maurice.