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UPDATE: JUDGE RULES in FAVOR of PLACING the PATIENT on the ADULT TRANSPLANT LIST! STILL DISTURBING to me! PROFOUNDLY DISTURBING – IS THIS the FUTURE with OBAMACARE? MAYBE an APOLOGY to SARAH PALIN…

I saw this story in two places:  Yahoo News and Mason Conservative.

I admit I do not understand the facts behind this matter.  And perhaps a medical ethicist could pound me silly over it.  But I find it disturbing that parents have to go to a local congressman and a bureaucrat to get permission to do a treatment that could save their child’s life that their doctors say could work:

The U.S. health secretary said she won’t intervene in an “incredibly agonizing” transplant decision about a dying Pennsylvania girl, noting that three other children in the same hospital are just as sick.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a congressional panel Tuesday that medical experts should make those decisions.

***

Under current policy, only patients 12 and over can join the list. But Sarah’s transplant doctors say she is medically eligible for an adult lung.

***

“I’m begging you. … She has three to five weeks to live. Please suspend the rules,” Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., urged Sebelius at a House Education and the Workforce Committee hearing on her department’s budget.

Sebelius conceded the case was an “incredibly agonizing situation” but said many complex factors go into the transplant-list formula.

Seems to me there should be a waiver granted.  After all, waivers were granted to numerous unions and companies to save the election of the President. But it is profoundly disturbing that a bureaucrat gets to decide in effect whether a child lives or dies.  This is what we have to look forward to with Obamacare?  Mason Conservative titled his article:  “Dare I Say It…Death Panel?”  Do we owe an apology to Sarah Palin?

I do not want to cause any more pain for these parents.  So let is offer this: Here’s the White House website.  Protest to the President and ask him to overrule his HHS Secretary.  I will pray for this little girl; God can heal her even now.

UPDATE:  A Federal judge has ruled that this young lady is to be placed on the adult lung transplant list.  So the medical ethicist is troubled:

Lung transplants are the most difficult of organ transplants, and children fare worse than adults, which is one reason for the existing policy, said Dr. Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at New York University Langone Medical Center.

He called it troubling, and perhaps precedent-setting, for a judge to overrule that medical judgment, and predicted a run to the courthouse by patients who don’t like their place on the waiting list.

“I’m not sure I want judges or congressmen or bureaucrats trying to decide what to do with organs at the bedside,” Caplan said.

I am still profoundly disturbed.  This should be a decision between a patient and his or her doctors (Where are the liberals when you need them?  They’re out in force to help take an unborn baby’s life.  But nowhere to be found to save one!) without the intervention of congressmen, cabinet secretaries or judges.  This may well the future if we do not repeal Obamacare and find a free-market health care system.  I’ll continue to pray for little Sarah Murnaghan.  I hope I am wrong about all of this.

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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