Rationing Lung Transplants - Procedural Fairness in Allocation and Appeals
ABSTRACT Organ transplantation requires explicit rationing and relies on public trust and altruism to sustain the organ supply. The well-publicized cases of two pediatric candidates for lung transplants have shaken the transplant community with emergency legal injunctions arguing that current lung-allocation policy is "arbitrary and capricious." Although the resulting transplantation seemingly provided an uplifting conclusion to an emotional public debate, this precedent may open the floodgates to litigation from patients seeking to improve their chances of obtaining organs. These cases questioned the potential disadvantaging of children and the procedural fairness in lung allocation. But legal appeals exacerbate inequities and undercut public . . .
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ABSTRACT: The Renal and Lung Living Donors Evaluation Study assesses outcomes of live lung (lobectomy) donors. This is a retrospective cohort study at University of Southern California (USC) and Washington University (WASHU) Medical Centers (1993–2006), using medical records to assess morbidity and national databases to ascertain postdonation survival and lung transplantation. Serious complications were defined as those that required significant treatment, were potentially life-threatening or led to prolonged hospitalization. The 369 live lung donors (287 USC, 82 WASHU) were predominantly white, non-Hispanic and male; 72% had a biological relationship to the recipient, and 30% were recipient parents. Serious complications occurred in 18% of donors; 2.2% underwent reoperation and 6.5% had an early rehospitalization. The two centers had significantly different incidences of serious complications (p < 0.001). No deaths occurred and no donors underwent lung transplantation during 4000+ person-years of follow-up (death: minimum 4, maximum 17 years; transplant: minimum 5, maximum 19). Live lung donation remains a potential option for recipients when using deceased donor lungs lacks feasibility. However, the use of two live donors for each recipient and the risk of morbidity associated with live lung donation do not justify this approach when deceased lung donors remain available. Center effects and long-term live donor outcomes require further evaluation.American Journal of Transplantation 07/2014; 14(8). DOI:10.1111/ajt.12771 · 6.19 Impact Factor
Article: Update in Lung Transplantation 2013[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Research in pulmonary transplantation is actively evolving in quality and scope to meet the challenges of a growing population of lung allograft recipients. In 2013, research groups leveraged large publicly available datasets in addition to multicenter research networks and single-center studies to make significant contributions to our knowledge and clinical care in the areas of donor use, clinical transplant outcomes, mechanisms of rejection, infectious complications, and chronic allograft dysfunction.American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 07/2014; 190(1):19-24. DOI:10.1164/rccm.201402-0384UP · 11.99 Impact Factor
Article: Was Sarah Murnaghan Treated Justly?[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Lung transplantation is a potentially life-saving procedure for patients with irreversible lung failure. Five-year survival rates after lung transplantation are >50% for children and young adults. But there are not enough lungs to save everyone who could benefit. In 2005, the United Network for Organ Sharing developed a scoring system to prioritize patients for transplantation. That system considered transplant urgency as well as time on the waiting list and the likelihood that the patient would benefit from the transplant. At the time, there were so few pediatric lung transplants that the data that were used to develop the Lung Allocation Score were inadequate to analyze and prioritize children, so they were left out of the Lung Allocation Score system. In 2013, the family of a 10-year-old challenged this system, claiming that it was unjust to children. In the article, we asked experts in health policy, bioethics, and transplantation to discuss the issues in the Murnaghan case.Pediatrics 06/2014; 134(1). DOI:10.1542/peds.2013-4189 · 5.30 Impact Factor