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Debate: Kidney-transplant recipient selection

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Should selection criteria for kidney-transplant recipients be changed to favor younger patients?

Background and context

  • "The nation's organ-transplant network is considering giving younger, healthier people preference over older, sicker patients for the best kidneys. Instead of giving priority primarily to patients who have been on the waiting list longest, the new rules would match recipients and organs to a greater extent based on factors such as age and health to try to maximize the number of years provided by each kidney - the most sought-after organ for transplants." Under kidney transplant proposal, younger patients would get the best organs - Washington Post, Feb 24, 2011
  • United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) and The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) are soliciting public feedback for their proposals (Concepts for revising kidney allocation resources ) by April 1, 2011. See How to Submit Feedback, page 2.
  • Read the proposal[1] and post your position (pro or con) with your best arguments, with references if you have them.
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Should younger kidney-transplant candidates have priority over older candidates?

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Pro

YES. Younger candidates should have priority for kidney-transplants because they are generally healthier than older candidates and they will have longer lives and get the most benefit from a precious and limited resource. This policy would be consistent with other organ-transplant policies that consider the health of the recipient. Critics call this "rationing" and "un-American", but there are way more people in need of kidneys than the available supply and rationing is already a reality. Rationing should be done rationally based on need and benefit rather than "first come first served".

A quote from the OPTN document
"Other stakeholders at that meeting recommended prioritizing kidneys from donors under the age of 35 to candidates under the age of 35 as a way to better match graft and recipient longevity." (p.4) see External links.

The OPTN proposals are not manifestations of Death Panels as described by some critics in the blogosphere.





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Con

NO. The current system of a waiting list is more fair and more American.





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See also

External links and resources:

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