Editoial: Disability shouldn’t be factor in transplants


The Columbus Dispatch



It’s a tragedy that people needing organ donations face an agonizing wait, but discriminating against people with disabilities — such as Down syndrome — is cruel and unreasonable.

House Bill 332, sponsored by Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, has bipartisan backing to stop this perceived practice: It would make it illegal to discriminate against someone seeking an organ transplant based solely on a disability.

Backers include families and groups that advocate for people with Down syndrome, which often is accompanied by heart defects. They don’t claim that such discrimination happens often, but they worry that some transplant programs have policies that are unclear on the issue. Or that others have no written policies.

The business of managing organ transplants requires gut-wrenching decisions. The finite number of available organs must be given out, not in an easily understandable first-come, first-served order, but according to a formula. Someone who has waited years, but develops a terminal cancer, would be ruled out. Transplanting a precious organ into someone who won’t live long is questionable.

But deciding a life is less worth saving because of a disability is an entirely different question. H.B. 332 would send a clear signal that this shouldn’t happen.

The Columbus Dispatch