Skip to comments.Sebelius: I canít suspend the lung-transplant rules for a dying 10-year-old
Posted on 06/04/2013 6:35:23 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
Portrait of a bureaucratic nightmare: A little girl’s dying from cystic fibrosis and has three to five weeks to live unless she gets a lung transplant before then. The good news is that adult lungs can be modified for a child her age in a way that’ll save her life — except that, because she’s only 10, she’s not eligible for them. The “adult” list starts at 12; everyone younger than that goes to the children’s list, where lungs are much harder to come by. The question is, does Sebelius have the authority to suspend those age limitations and make the girl, Sarah Murnaghan, eligible for an adult transplant?
I honestly don’t know the answer. Murnaghan’s parents say Sebelius’s authority is clear; Sebelius herself claims that HHS’s lawyers have told her she can’t do it. A life hangs in the balance. On one side:
[U]nder existing policy all adults in the region with her blood type will be offered the lungs first, her parents say, even those more stable and with less severe conditions. The girl’s parents called for a change in the policy after their appeal was denied…
United Network for Organ Sharing, also a nonprofit under contract with the government, said a committee would review the policy and the public would have a chance to comment on any proposed changes. But spokeswoman Anne Paschke said any changes most likely won’t come quickly enough to benefit Sarah or others like her.
“The policy development process is not fast,” she said in an email to The Associated Press. “Organ allocation policies are created to transplant as many people as possible overall, result in the fewest waiting list deaths overall and result in the best possible survival overall. In developing policies, committees and the board weigh data, medical evidence and experience, and public input.”
On the other:
Dr. Stuart Sweet from St. Louis Children’s Hospital, who helped write the pediatric transplant system, said the case ‘tugs at his heart’ but that no system is perfect.
He said that if he changed the system for Sarah’s advantage, ‘there’s another patient, very likely an adolescent, who gets a disadvantage‘.
That’s the key question, right? If you waive the rules and bump her up the adult list, does someone else die because they’re forced to keep waiting? And the other question is, why is someone on the children’s list if a modified adult lung would save them? I don’t understand offhand using a fixed age cutoff instead of a qualitative assessment of each patient to maximize their odds of a transplant. If an adult organ would work for her and there are more adult organs to be had, that’s the list she should be on. Sebelius herself seems sufficiently troubled by this to have ordered a review of transplant protocols.
I’m flagging this for you now just because, with the attention paid to it by GOP congressmen in today’s hearing (Tom Price pressed Sebelius on it too) and with Drudge picking it up this afternoon, there’s a chance it’s going to be blow up in the media in the next few days. Now you’re caught up on the background. And no matter what happens, Ace is right that having the head of HHS telling Congress “someone lives and someone dies” is poisonous optics with the public already sour on ObamaCare. Good luck with your 2014 strategy, Democrats.
Are you saying any lung can be accepted by the next donor? You seem to lack facts to back this up, and usually there are blood typing and tissue typing issues, you can’t just fix it all with cyclosporin.
donor -> donee
You seem to assume things not in evidence. Well if you can invent circumstances so can I. We deal with discrete, real cases, not some grey mush of humanity en masse.
And let a bureaucrat make decisions that we should be making with and for our loved ones?
Joe, that's absolutely disgusting!
An insurance company has never been involved in a life and death decision that I've been a part of. Only the doctor, other relatives and myself.
If you're willing to abdicate that decision to the federal government, shame on you. Are you a man? Or a bystander?
May God bless and keep this little girl. May He also have mercy on all of us for our omissive complicity in permitting the evil which threatens her to persist.
The real scenario is desperate parents doing everything for their child. They were undoubtedly shot down up the chain of command (so to speak) and are appealing to the public sympathy. I don’t blame them but its not good government nor good policy..
Yes it is, and yet joe may/will drone on and on with his hypnotic spell. Beware. At a certain point it becomes clear that discussion is not clarifying anything at all.
GOD I hate this damned administration more and more every day.
Patch the leak and fix the system. Why are these mutually exclusive? You seem to be enslaved under the spell of, well, something other than the good Lord, who really would look at everything down to the last detail.
I wont drone I have no time and little regard for idiots..
Alright. I see that it is a network, of doctors I am assuming here, working under contract with the HHS, which means that HHS is ultimately in charge in terms of legal authority.
So that says to me Sebelius is the person who decides if the federal regulations are more important than this child’s chance at life. Doctors say go, government says no.
It not only looks bad, it is bad. HHS being involved gives the regs force of law, and that force is essentially what is keeping the child from having access to an adult lung which could be modified.
I see it like this. Since government is involved via the contract, if the government makes the decision that its regulations are more important than giving this child a chance, then they are saying that their regulations are more important than her life, and thus are a death panel.
You ask if its fair to others who may benefit from the same lung? That’s hard to say for certain, fair is subjective, elusive and may not even exist at all. But I ask is it right to deny this girl an opportunity at an adult lung because she doesn’t meet the regulated age requirement? I my answer is no.
By your personal attack you prove what “basis” you are coming from. It is that of hell.
What if there weren’t, though. These clowns seem to be saying “no way it could happen” not “this lung ought to go to this adult that is proven to be able to use it now.”
Amen brother, and if it be God’s will, this child will persist. Of that, have no doubt.
The medical philosophy "First do no harm" was tossed aside, now it's "First do them in and don't even blink", kind of like Mao who just kept murdering. Keep progressing and killing until we reach leftist "utopia".
Alright. I say if there is no adult recipient that matches, then give her a shot. Now back to my question. What if there is an adult that matches and would have a higher rate of survivability. Do you move this girl ahead of that adult?
Well then we have a genuine triage question and that’s another story. But these bureaucrats seem paralyzed from being able to breach a line which... who invented it anyhow? Doctors in private practice?
When Obama's members of the likely "death panel" were listed, I read some of their comments. Both Cass Sunstein and Ezekial Emanuel (Rahm's dr. brother) are on the same page. I can't remember which said it, but think Sunstein was the one.
Paraphrased, he said expensive procedures could not be wasted on children before adolescense because the state did not have enough invested in them to make it good policy to spend a lot to save them--just like old people are too old to be worth it. Gr. Britain already denies dialysis to children and to adults over 55. However, they have foundations that help provide it for as many children as they can until they get a transplant. In this case, however, it is the govt. policy of prioritizing the organs that throws this little girl out.
Expect more of this.
If I may, I say it would depend upon a number of factors. Match and etc., but especially which one is in the most danger at the time an organ became available.
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