Saturday, June 6, 2020

People Disabilities Barred from Receiving Transplants – Claims New Report

Is Disability a Factor In Organ Transplantation?

People with disabilities, according to a new report, are being barred from receiving organ transplants. The report was released by the president of the National Council on Disability. The concern on the report was the bias against people with disabilities.

Despite the federal law prohibiting this bias,  people with developmental disabilities are being barred from transplant waiting lists.

The situation, according to the chairman of the council, presented a system in which “organ denial is on disability and not on suitability.” The report claims that the selection criteria is being based on myths, stereotypes, and fears associated with disabilities.

The Council’s report went on to bust some myths associated with transplants for people with disabilities. For example, a disability doesn’t affect how successful a transplant is to the recipient. Also, disabilities, with adequate support,  should not impact a recipient’s ability to sustain a post-transplant care plan. 

Moreover, the report went beyond the receiving of transplants and looked into the agencies that manage the organ transplant process. It was identified that the policies put up by these agencies do not adequately protect people with disabilities from being pressured into donating their organs.

Transplant centers are under no federal law jurisdiction for organ donation candidates. The centers, therefore, make up their guidelines for accepting patients for transplant or placement on the national waiting list. Each center has its policies and practices that increase factors that will withhold medical treatment (contraindications) to applying candidates.


The contraindications are classified as either absolute or relative. While absolute conditions mean that a patient has been rejected for a transplant,  relative conditions lower a patient’s chances of being selected. The organ procurement networks have not dictated disability as a contraindication to organ donation. However, some transplant centers have disabilities as a relative or absolute contraindication.

The national council on Disability raised its petition with the U.S Department of Health and the Department of Justice to apply the Disabilities Act and other related Acts to all stages of the Organ transplant process. 

The council indicated the matter needed urgent address due to the delicate nature of the cases. And the government agencies should make quick reviews of any discrimination claims on organ transplant on the grounds of disability.   

The Justice Department revealed Its collaboration with HHS to determine the steps they are to take to mitigate the situation. The HHS office also commended the council for its comprehensive work and confirmed they were looking into recommendations “under advisement.”

In a reported case, a doctor bared a patient from registering in the heart transplant waiting list. The patient was claimed to have an intellectual disability and did not live independently. The case resulted in a discrimination complaint being raised at the civil rights office.

The HHS Office for Civil Rights about three years ago received a letter from (30 members) of congress on the resolves that could be done for organ transplant discrimination for people with developmental disabilities. 

Nelson O. Freytes
Nelson O. Freytes
Nelson received a liver transplant over 20 years ago due to fulminant liver failure, caused by thyroid medication. A few years after his transplant, Nelson set out to build a ‘next-level’ social network for the transplant community and started Transplant Cafe, and most recently Transplant News.

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