Without doubt you have heard about the little girl amelia (or mia as her parents call her) who needs a kidney transplant but was supposedly denied just because she is retarded. Everyone has heard of her because her parents made damned sure of it. They made sure that they disclosed only the information that they wanted the world to know, then left the hospital unable to defend its’ decision because of HIPPA (privacy) laws.
Well I just read today that mia’s mommie got her way! She successfully bullied the hospital into setting aside their transplant criteria and they are going to allow mia to receive a new kidney. Of course her family is over the moon about this, but in reality, what does this mean for society?
What happens when the next person who is retarded needs a transplant but they’re rejected because, like mia, they have multiple medical issues and illnesses? What happens with the next person who is retarded does not have a family member or friend who is a match for organ donation? Will they pull a mia and use media spin to force them to the top of the transplant list? Will transplant surgeons now have to worry about whose parents are going to scream the loudest rather than which candidate is the best physical match and has the best chance of survival?
If you are thinking to yourself “Oh, that’s not going to happen so why worry about it” then you are very wrong. It WILL happen. It will happen because there are not enough organs for all the people who need them. Will all of you who are saying “but even kids like mia who sit there like a lump deserve treatment” then go to the child who is being denied and say “tough luck little one! I know that you are highly intelligent, aware of everything that is happening, but we are going to rob your future for this kid over here who will never walk, talk, or be anything”. Are you going to go to the mother of 4 who has worked fulltime for 20 years and now needs a new heart and tell her “sorry dearie, but this person over here gets the heart because he is retarded so he gets jumped to the front of the line”.
Questions need to be asked and a new transplant criteria set into place. Not all conditions rule out transplants but simply being mentally retarded shouldn’t give one the right to get a transplant either. Are we going to do away with all criteria and simply put everyone on a “first come first served” basis? Is it going to be whomever can get to XXX first gets to live – whether you are the best candidate or the most in need?
mia’s parents got what they wanted but is the medical community & today’s society ready for the challenges that are going to be coming soon.